Core Innovation team since 2014

Core Innovation team since 2014

Anguilla’s thematic workshop “Innovation for Tourism Growth” was great opportunity to work again with Sherma Hodge, Innovation Manager from Anguilla with whom cooperation started nearly five years ago. Jude Huston, Innovation Director of Sint Maarten was another member of the initial core innovation team. So glad working  together again.

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Innovation for Tourism Growth Anguilla

Innovation for Tourism Growth Anguilla

OCTA Innovation Thematic workshop “Innovation for Tourism Growth” was held in Anguilla 11-12 of October. In was held in the Caribbean month of Tourism. However, it’s reach was global, having participants and speakers from all sides of world including French Polynesia and Wallis et Futuna, Pacific ocean Overseas Countries and Territories.

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Innovation for growth in tourism sector – OCTA Innovation Workshop, 11-12 October, Anguilla

Innovation for growth in tourism sector – OCTA Innovation Workshop, 11-12 October, Anguilla

Innovation and creativity in the tourism sector can make the European Union’s Overseas Countries and Territories more competitive in the international market and more resilient to destructive weather phenomena such as hurricanes. It is theme of a two-day workshop in Anguilla, 11-12 October organised by OCTA Innovation and hosted by the Government of Anguilla.

“Island destinations that have identified and implemented innovative solutions, creative attractions and visitor services tend to be more successful in securing constant growth and overcoming geopolitical issues and natural disasters,” says Milan Jezic von Gesseneck, OCTA Innovation’s Team Leader. “Time has come ask the right questions and find new answers to how OCT governments can best foster innovation in tourism. OCTs should not be copycats for other countries’ innovation policies; OCTs need to find their own way.”

The event’s organisation has been guided by the advice of Mr. Victor Banks, Hon. Chief Minister, Government of Anguilla and Mrs Tracy Knight, OCTA Vice-President of the Overseas Countries and Territories Association (OCTA). Mr Bren Romney, Innovation Manger in Anguilla and his team have also been instrumental in its preparation.

A focus will be innovative individual attractions and accommodation in OCTs to enhance the visitor experience. The introduction of the innovations in digital technology to the sector have the potential to attract the expanding millennial market.

Renowned tourism experts Anne-Mette Hjalager and James MacGregor and innovation expert, Milan Jezic von Gesseneck will lead the debate. The ambition is to put forward innovative tourism initiatives which at the same time safeguard natural resources and enable the OCTs to be resilient to forces that can reduce visitor arrivals. They include hurricanes and sea level rise caused by global warming.

The workshop also aims is to give rise to innovation activities, methodologies and techniques that will be attractive to both OCTs’ current source markets as well as attracting new market segments. “Collaboratively we will re-think the OCT innovation policies portfolios. We will critically and creatively address the ways that OCT governments can take on the most efficient way the advantages of the unique potentials in the OCTs’,” says Milan Jezic von Gesseneck.

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Innovation for Tourism Growth

Innovation for Tourism Growth

Anguilla two days thematic workshop was held in line with OCTA Innovation’s mission which is to strengthen sustainable development through innovation for economic development and diversification, to improve regional and global competitiveness of the European Union’s Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs).

In most OCTs, tourism is a major opportunity for development and growth. But not any type nor visitor volume respond to the goals of the OCTs and their populations. Innovative and creative tourism activities, facilities and services as an effective way to compete in the larger international tourism marketplace have been discussed. Workshop initiated and highlighted relevance of tailored  innovative solutions, creative attractions and visitor services to be more successful in securing constant growth and overcoming geopolitical issues and natural disasters.

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Mrs Blondel Cluff CBE, Representative of the Government of Anguilla to the UK and EU and Special Adviser to the Chief Minister, attended Brussels on the 29th August, together with a delegation from her office in London of the Government. During the three-day visit, she met with Milan Jezic von Gesserneck, head of OCTA Innovations and thanked him for his dedication and support Anguilla’s youth. In so doing, Mrs Cluff noted the extraordinary efforts of Bren Romney, Director of Anguilla’s Department of Youth and Culture and his colleagues in Anguilla who have served the next generation of Anguillians without interruption, despite the catastrophic impact of Hurricane Irma in 2017.

Anguilla’s Youth

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An Anguillan educational innovator in Finland – Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs

An Anguillan educational innovator in Finland – Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs

Njeri Richardson-Carty who started up Branches of Learning Inc., an innovative educational company in her native Anguilla, has just begun her Erasmus for Entrepreneurs (EYE) mentorship at the Council for Creative Education (CCE) in Tampere, Finland.

Njeri is one of several of applicants from the Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs) to be recently accepted by the European Union funded Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs (EYE) programme which provides the opportunity to develop innovative business skills in another country.

Open to those with three or less years in business, it places nationals from OCTs with an experienced business mentor for between 1-6 months. The host must be either in an EU state other than the applicant’s mother country, or in other various participating countries. A bursary of €1,100 per month includes a return flight and accommodation although OCT applicants are advised that may have to find additional funding to meet living expenses during their EYE mentorship.

In addition to a list of 27 Member States, applicants can select a host company in the following list of countries: Albania, Armenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Iceland, Israel, Montenegro, Moldova, Serbia, Singapore, Turkey, and Ukraine, the United States.

Njeri is settling in at the CCE: ‘Thus far all has been great. I’ve been researching and preparing in the capacity of training coordinator support for my first Finnish/Creative Education Tour with a group of Nigerian Educators, allowing me to visit and observe in Finnish Schools as well as present my expertise in the area of special education.”

CCE’s motto is, “redefining education through creativity”. The organisation  provides tailormade teacher training and school development programs from pre-primary to higher education.

“My ambitions for Branches Of Learning Inc. is be the premier model education institution in the region providing creative and innovative education solutions for K-12 students, teachers and parents. We will provide innovative education programming that will create learning environments that develop children, teachers and parents to be effective communicators, competent problem solvers, self-directed learners, responsible citizens and quality producers as they prepare to meet the dynamic needs of an exponentially changing landscape of education,” says Njeri.

Njeri says that she found it challenging to find mentorship locally and regionally to allow her to get hands on experience in the field of creative education: “This opportunity provides an international opportunity for mentorship with not just one person; but an organisation with creative and innovative minds in education research and in Finland, a country that is known for its phenomenal education system.”

“Finland is known to be one of the best places in the world in regards to education, education transformation/reform over the past 40 years, showing record progress towards creative and innovative learning opportunities for children, which is a pillar of the Branches Of Learning mission and vision towards adding value to education through innovative education solutions in our student programming, teacher leader training and parent/community advocacy,” she adds.

“The EYE programme provides a win-win collaboration where both the host entrepreneur and myself are able to develop personal learning goals and objectives to meet needs and learning potential for our businesses and help us to do business in different innovative ways by opening ourselves to the expertise and perspectives of each other. In the long-term, the wide networking opportunities could lead to long-term business partnerships, joint ventures and so much more, creating impact world-wide in regards to creative education,” she says.

“Naturally, networking will be a benefit from the experience. The fact that the Council for Creative Education (CCE) is an international company with global connections that will allow me to network with persons with similar interest in creative education across the world as the research field grows.”

“I hope that this experience will allow to develop all sectors of Branches Of Learning Inc. and the development of our multi-purpose center which will develop an early years academy in the future built on many principles of the Finnish system but with cultural relevance to Anguilla and the Caribbean region becoming model institution and offering after school programme options. In the long-term, I hope to collaborate and consult locally and regionally with the Council for Creative Education in supporting their reach into this targeted area of the world to expose more education professionals to the research and practice of creative education,” says Njeri

For more information about how to apply to the EYE programme, contact and/or see:



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Anguilla: Women in construction

Anguilla: Women in construction

The Department of Youth and Culture of Anguilla launched a public sensitisation campaign on the ‘Women in Construction Apprenticeship Programme”.

The programme is funded through OCTA Innovation pilot projects and intends to establish an apprenticeship system for women ages 16 and over, which will facilitate the involvment of women in the construction industry. It will cater to women who wish to pursue a career in the construction industry, to have further opportunity for employment during Anguilla’s slow season, or simply to empower themselves in an area which involves unique or unconventional skill sets for the majority of women.

It will include a component of structured training and theory in addition to the pratical hands-on training.

Read the article.

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