Solar-Powered Air Conditioning and EV Maintenance: Promising Businesses for the Future, Says UWI Professor

    JN Group

    Professor Dale Webber, director of the Centre for Marine Sciences at The University of the West Indies, Mona, has predicted a bright future for businesses focused on solar-powered air conditioning and electric vehicle (EV) maintenance.

    Speaking during a JN Group-sponsored breakout session on ‘Green Entrepreneurship’ at the 10th Biennial Diaspora Conference, Professor Webber highlighted that these business lines are poised for significant growth due to the growing need for alternatives to fossil fuel-reliant equipment that contribute to climate change.

    “Somebody who is into entrepreneurial ideas who wants to get a solar air condition system going—that is a business that is going to take off,” Professor Webber declared. He emphasised the importance of innovation in addressing climate change, while also noting the critical need for solutions to maintain these systems.

    Complementing Professor Webber’s insights, Carlinton Burrell, chief executive officer of the Caribbean Climate Innovation Centre (CCIC), noted additional sectors good for green innovation include transportation, medicine, water, and agriculture. He encouraged entrepreneurs to consider the resilience, market potential, and viability of their ideas, highlighting CCIC’s role in helping to develop business plans to propel these ideas to the next level.

    “Think about how resilient your idea is going to be, the market and the gap it is going to fill. Ask yourself, is it a viable idea?” Mr Burrell advised.

    Dr Charah Watson, executive director of the Scientific Research Council (SRC), further highlighted the promise also held in agricultural technology, smart farming, and waste management. She illustrated how technologies enabling remote management of agricultural processes and higher yields could revolutionise farming. Dr Watson also noted the potential in waste management, with companies turning river waste into products like chairs, addressing both environmental and consumer needs.

    “Agricultural technology is a sure area for success. Waste management, recycling and upcycling offer tremendous opportunities for innovation,” she said, adding that the SRC supports water harvesting technology and is ready to back entrepreneurs in this field.

    David Wan, acting managing director of the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ), reinforced the bank’s commitment to supporting entrepreneurs with funding and capacity-building. He stressed the importance of business registration for securing financing and outlined the DBJ’s range of services designed to nurture business growth.

    “We have a full spectrum of offerings [for] businesses. We call ourselves the ‘business builder’ because everything we do is there to support and help businesses grow,” Wan stated.

    The session, chaired by Claudine Allen, general manager of the JN Foundation, explored the perspectives and offerings of various stakeholders to drive green entrepreneurship in Jamaica. The discussions highlighted the collaborations needed to drive sustainable business practices and address the pressing challenges of climate change.

    “Consumers are thinking differently these days and are choosing to do business with companies that visibly communicate their dedication to Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) principles,” she said.

    “Entrepreneurs who can leverage technology and scientific innovation stand to not only benefit economically, but also to contribute meaningfully to the fight against climate change. We have to remember that this fight is not one that is the remit of civil society and government, but is the responsibility of all of us,” she insisted.

    The Biennial Diaspora conference was held from June 16-19 under the theme ‘United for Jamaica’s Transformation: Fostering Peace, Productivity and Youth Empowerment’. The JN Group has been one of three legacy partners of the conference since its inception in 2004. The symposium is now in its 10th staging.

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