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August 2019 update

Call to (funding) action

It really isn’t a secret; NGOs or non-profits are always strapped for cash. True, grant funding is our traditional niche but there are, have, always been, constraints placed on expenditure for office expenses such as electricity, furniture, office gear, even staff salaries.

Going foward into an uncertain future, we expect much more restriction/curtailment in our income streams given the onerous paperwork coming out of the Financial Action Task Force recommendations - to which GoRTT enthusiastically subscribed without measuring for fit. Or on the macro level, as the global economy shrink under the brunt of a rapidly changing climate, corporate funding may wither even further.

To make a long story short, ET has entered the world of business (wealth creation) except we are using the Social Enterprise approach: A struct endorsed by the world community that allows ventures to generate triple bottom-line wealth; for the operators or their funders, for the creation of benefits for the environment and, not least, to water the plants of governance (accountability, transparency and productivity).

And what do we really want?

Well, we need money. If we are to seed Get In Touch Tours we’ll need to provide a one stop platform for people wanting to Get in on the Tobago (and Trinidad) ecotour action. Environment Tobago (of course) knows where the ocean, oceanside, river and forest goodies are. But its the Getting there (think CNG buses), its the linking the accommodations, commissioning the most competent guides And making everything available to the customers via a single interface - Is what we really want to do.

Next step: to Environment Tobago if the idea of shareholding in Get In Touch Trinidad and Tobago has appeal.

Welcome Get In Touch Tours Trinidad and Tobago

In a previous post copied here Environment Tobago (ET) indicated we were seeking grant funding to facilitate a venture into social enterprise. It’s now August 2019 and we have several things to report. We have completed the pre-requisite capacity building work USAID wants participating non-profits to have in order to approach potential lenders.

It’s been a great journey all in all. ET, along with about fourteen other NGOs from the region finessed the art of preparing a business plan, learnt to deploy and use Quickbooks accounting software and learnt to pitch the business idea - in shortform to qualified prospects. Et also did something else. In anticipation of going foward whatever it takes, we registered a for-profit entity; Get In Touch Trinidad and Tobago Company Limited.

Social Enterprise: A new beginning

The social enterprise aspect of Environment Tobago’s strategic plan 2019-2024 caters to the sustainable finance requirement as well to ET’s higher mission goal; sustainability in all works that utilise the natural environment.

Our SE efforts to date (its now April 2019) is an application to USAID to show we are interested in attaining seed funding via their programme Local Capacity for Local Solutions. However, whether or not a call for proposal is issued to us through LCLS (it could be a grant to mobilise a social enterprise start-up) the concept has enough potential and warrants a deeper look. To that Environment Tobago is looking at grants or startup fund ideas from any qualified source.

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