Introducing the Barbados & the Eastern Caribbean Blue Economy Accelerator Lab

September 18, 2019

From left to right: Jordanna Tennebaum, Nikola Simpson and Therez Walker.

UNDP’s Multi-Country Office for Barbados & the Eastern Caribbean is pleased to officially introduce the Blue Economy and Sustainable Management of Ocean Degradation Lab. The Blue Lab is part of the UNDP Accelerator Labs initiative, the world’s largest and fastest learning network that UNDP is building to address development challenges in the new era where changes are happening rapidly.

The primary objective of the Blue Lab is to promote out-of-the-box thinking and experimentation to support Small Island Developing States (SIDS), with a focus on Caribbean countries, in the sustainable development of its ocean-based economic sectors.

The Blue Lab is being established at a crucial moment. Today’s changes are happening faster, and our challenges are more complex. As such, new solutions are needed. In that context, through the work of the Blue Lab, we are expecting to generate greater protection of the marine environment, develop environmentally-friendly public policies, increase blue economy businesses, create breakout research and spark innovation that protects the ocean.

To accomplish its goals, the Blue Lab will be working in partnership with the public and private sectors on identifying a locally-sourced portfolio of solutions to challenges in the Blue Economy. In particular, the Lab is looking to accelerate innovative initiatives that are already happening in order to have a greater impact on the problems being addressed. These accelerations may take the form of further capital investment, technical assistance, partnership generation or any area that ‘lead users’ may need support in to get their ventures to the next stage.

Building upon the numerous initiatives being led by a multiplicity of partners and after wide consultations with many stakeholders, the Blue Lab is aiming to promote experimentation in the following areas of work: tourism, bio-technology and waste management; sustainable financing; renewable energy; blue badge for Blue Certified Businesses; transforming seaweed; blue social impact bonds and solar power on fishing boats.

The Blue Lab will also be collaborating with communities and lead users (small start-ups and entrepreneurs) that are already promoting the blue economy through innovative ideas that need a boost. To support them, the Blue Lab will work closely with the Blue Board (partners from the public and private sectors), the Blue Support team (UNDP staff) and the other 59 Accelerator Labs the UNDP has established around the world.

In Barbados & the OECS, the Blue Lab will be headed by Nikola Simpson (Head of Exploration), Jordanna Tennebaum (Head of Solutions Mapping) and Therez Walker (Head of Experimentation).

A bit about the team:

Nikola Simpson joins the team as Head of Exploration. Nikola brings with her knowledge and experience in the blue economy with a focus on conservation and sustainability. Nikola is passionate about being an intermediary between people and policy. She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Marine & Freshwater Biology from the University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada, and a Master of Science in Natural Resource and Environmental Management at CERMES (Centre for Resource Management & Environmental Studies), UWI Cave Hill, Barbados.

Jordanna Tennebaum has taken on the role of Head of Solutions Mapping. Jordanna has a background in the private sector, having worked in brand strategy on portfolio management, project management, trend scoping and consumer analysis. Jordanna holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and World Religions from McGill University, Canada, and a Masters in Journalism from Carleton University, Canada.

Therez Walker is the Head of Experimentation. Therez has vast experience in governance, planning, monitoring, evaluation and financial management within the private sector. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of New Brunswick, Canada. From Ritsumeikain APU in Japan, Therez also completed a Master’s degree in Business Administration and a Doctor of Philosophy in Social Sciences.

To contact the Blue Lab, please e-mail: