The future of cleantech development and industry in Barbados is here! Meet the innovative incubatees of Bloom, the Barbados Cleantech Cluster. Discover their businesses, projects, personal stories and unique journeys in this interview series.*
Q: What’s your name and what’s your business?
A: My name is Joshua Forte and my business is Red Diamond Compost. We are innovators, world changers, scientists, next generation “Guardians of the Earth”! We believe in the right to nutrient rich foods, and our mission is to bring new life and vitality to the soils across the world. We are implementing a natural balance in everything we do by converting organic waste materials into biologic soil treatment and crop protection solutions. This enables us to improve organic waste management, food and nutrition security, and most of all, build resilience against climate change through our holistic and regenerative approach.
Q: Tell us one thing you’re proud of since the inception of your business.
A: I am proud of the fact that I am still here and have not given up despite the many trials and tribulations I have experienced over the years.
Q: Why did you choose to sign up for Bloom?
A: Bloom is the first major cleantech incubator in Barbados and I believed it would provide me with the necessary tools and resources to move Red Diamond to the next stage.
Q: Is there anything you learned or gained so far from participating in Bloom that helped you to keep moving forward? How was that knowledge helpful?
A: A key lesson I’ve learned is to ‘leave no stone unturned’. Sometimes you just need the right push to get you over a hill that has you weary. For me that was in the form of a single conversation that motivated me to address an operational problem that was overlooked. Thankfully I was able to address it and Red Diamond’s bottom line will be looking healthier for it.
Q: What has been your most memorable experience in your cleantech journey?
A: My most memorable journey has definitely been winning the Caribbean Innovation Competition last year. It was the third or fourth time I had applied. The initial concept of Red Diamond has evolved since its conception in 2014. I believe that reaching the finals in the 2018 competition and finally winning the 2020 competition shows how I have continued to incorporate all the knowledge and experience gained as our journey continues.
Q: What are the top challenges you are facing? How are you dealing with these?
A: The main challenge I faced is the lack of working capital to scale Red Diamond as I would like, but what I have done is to shift the focus from the money itself to our customer. I am looking at how, in our current position, we can provide them with greater value. I am asking, “Are we doing everything to achieve that and if not what are the steps we can take to fill that gap”.
Q: Where are you now on your journey to success? How have you grown?
A: For myself and Red Diamond Compost, this is only the very beginning. To put it simply, we have been training hard and are just about to move off the start line!
Q: What keeps you going?
Q: What does success look like for you?
A: Success looks like continuing to stay the course each and every day – continuing to learn and grow, build and share with others. I see this both of myself, personally, and of the Red Diamond Compost business.
Q: What advice would you give to other aspiring cleantech innovators?
A: Remember that this journey is about the long haul. Many of us, especially young innovators, seek to develop solutions to problems that have been brewing for years, generations even, and are eager to make a difference and make an impact quickly. With patience and persistence you will get there.