As a team we pondered the various challenges we all faced at some point trying to find or buy or even trade within our neighbouring OECS members countries and even the wider Caribbean. We thought of how convenient and rewarding it would be especially with technological advancements if there was a central website or one marketplace for Caribbean businesses and consumers to as we say in the Caribbean LINK UP with each other and the wider world. It was then that the concept of Cari-Link (CLINK) was born to solve problems we identified from research such as the high cost of marketing both locally and across to other islands, which in turn affected the markets SMEs were able to reach resulting in compelling consumers to buy internationally because they had no awareness or ease of access to SMEs in their own home countries or neighbouring islands - contributing to the challenges facing our region economies with high revenues being spent internationally and not necessarily among ourselves.
How it works
Users can visit the CLINK website and or download our user friendly app to access a marketplace of select businesses and suppliers within the OECS and wider region; and search a comprehensive catalog of products and services that they offer to link up.
Challenges I ran into
Deciding on a name had been the primary challenge that we faced as a team. We wanted to ensure our name represented the Caribbean but was still marketable and relatable to the wider world.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
We actually chose a name!!! and we addressed multiple of the challenges posed by the hackathon (e.g. market reach by giving SME's a more affordable and wider avenue to reach neighbouring islands and the wider world via the web and supply chain by connecting producers and suppliers to SMEs via our multiple platforms and even a bit of multichannel customer support by giving SMEs and their existing and potential customers ability to communicate via our chat function whether over SMS or facebook or even whatsapp including the existing email etc
What I learned
As we executed our research we found that there were many varying challenges and pressures facing SMEs (small and medium enterprises) within the OECS and across the wider Caribbean, particularly when it came to inter-island trade...
What's next for CARI-LINK (CLINK)
Further development and implementation...