Posted: Monday, May 25, 2020. 5:52 pm CST.
By BBN Staff: Since 2011, the sargassum seaweed phenomenon has been heaping piles of putrid rotting seaweed on beaches and coastlines all over the region, but in 2018, a pair of University of the West Indies (UWI) graduates from Barbados, saw the problem as an opportunity.
Kemar Codrington and Mikhail Eversley, founders of OASIS Laboratory, boast being the first company in the world to develop and produce a sargassum-based skincare product line. Their company was recently featured in an article on STEM Caribbean’s website, which highlighted how the two chemists launched their self-funded venture with some business support from UWI’s Student Entrepreneurial and Empowerment Development (SEED) program and have since gone on to having two brands under their umbrella company (OCEAN by OASIS, and Nature’s Melanin) as well as a publication called Olab Magazine.
As sargassum continues to plague countries, with the most recent example being the mass of sargassum the size of Jamaica that passed through the region in 2019, the example set by Codrington and Eversley highlights the opportunities that exist for countries and individuals who seek to turn problems into possibilities. Also in 2019, the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM), launched a study to determine the negative effects that sargassum seaweed has had on Belize and the greater Caribbean, noting that sargassum cleanup throughout the region amounted to around $180 million.
With so much sargassum coming into the region on an annual basis, and a clear business model already in existence, it remains to be seen if any Belizean entity will step up to cash in on this potential million-dollar venture.
Notably, Belize high School won the Sagicore Visionaries Challenge in 2016 with a project called “The Value of Nuisance” where the students researched the possibilities of creating products from sargassum and even presented visitors to their booth with samples of their sargassum shake.
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