Montego Bay – June 5, 2016: Mobile app developers Wanderscape, of Trinidad; Directory.GY of Guyana; Medi Revu of Barbados, and Jamaica’s SameLogic and Bookfusion, were the five teams of tech entrepreneurs which scored big at the PitchIT Caribbean Challenge tech-entrepreneurship competition which ended on Saturday (June 4, 2016) evening.
The five winners were selected after two rigorous days of pitching to two panel of judges and an audience of regional and global investors. The top five teams each took home US$5000 in seed funding to develop their businesses and have also been awarded spots in PitchIT Caribbean business accelerators across the region.
Chief Judge Dushyant Savadia of Jamaican security technology firm Amber Connect, who announced the five winners, could hardly contain his excitement over what he said were the impressive pitches the initial ten finalists made to the panel of four judges, earlier in the day.
“What I saw today was not just Jamaica, Trinidad, Barbados, it was truly world class,” Savadia said amid the applause. “What I have seen here was truly outstanding, truly tremendous, so congratulations to all 10.
“I am also aware you are all learning; you are all at seed stage; you are understanding the business. But to come up on this stage, and stand here in front of five judges who are extremely seasoned, who have been in the business for a long time, and withstand their questions and still be passionate and persuasive about what you are doing, is tremendously commendable,” he added.
The Government of Canada’s Counsellor and Head of Cooperation in Jamaica, Walter Bernyck, said he was overjoyed by the success of the project which, only serves to enrich the longstanding relationship between his country and the Caribbean region.
“I think that this competition turned out very well. You could see right to the end a very strong feeling of anticipation; a strong readiness to compete in the digital market,” a beaming Bernyck said.
“The World Bank and UWI Mona School of Business and Business Support Services, have done a really done a great job to coordinate everything; to keep people moving; to keep them focused on the agenda. I think overall I am very satisfied with how the process is going,” he added.
The World Bank’s Programme Officer of the Entrepreneurship Programme for Innovation in the Caribbean, Karlene Francis was just as overjoyed as her fellow donors.
“We are very pleased with the quality of the pitches on day one and also on day two; it was exceptional. On day one the pitches were excellent and on day two they were refined even greater; all the teams did an excellent job and I think they were all winners coming into this competition,” Francis said.
She added: “Based on my discussions with them, they have certainly learnt a lot from the mentors that we have provided. So overall, the World Bank is very happy with the quality of the presentations, with the quality of the mentors and the quality of judges that were and who participated. We believe the top five teams were indeed the top five. It was a very competitive process but overall they came out on top and we are very happy with the entire event.”
A total of 25 groups of mobile app developers from seven countries across the Caribbean, participated in the competition, the aim of which is to enhance the region’s mobile app development ecosystem. The project, which is part of the Entrepreneurship Programme for Innovation in the Caribbean (EPIC), is being executed by the University of the West Indies Consortium, with funding from the Government of Canada and the World Bank.
Other entrants were Carib Auto Express and Caribbean Transit Solutions of Barbados; Linkup Group of Dominica; Ash.co of St. Kitts and Nevis; FARMS of St. Lucia and Kewplus, Software Interactive, Wallet Injurecare Utility, Caribbean Treasure and Drop and Lifeball Technologies of Trinidad and Tobago and ClickPaye, Money Mobile Solutions, MekUp Jamaica, GetThere, Eventah and Pandosoft of Jamaica.
On June 3 - 4, 2016, twenty-five finalists from across CARICOM will have the opportunity to pitch their mobile app to a panel of judges and an audience of regional and global investors at the PitchIT Caribbean Challenge, at the Mobay Convention Centre in Montego Bay, Jamaica.
5 winners will each be awarded US$5000 and a place in one of the five PitchIT Caribbean incubators around the Caribbean. During their incubation they will receive mentorship and coaching from some of the world’s best business coaches, and trips to international conferences and competitions.
June 3, 2016
Five teams from Jamaica, one from Guyana and two each from Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago, emerged as the top 10 tech-entrepreneurs from a total of 25 groups on day one of the PitchIT Caribbean’s tech-entrepreneurship competition and showcase, in Montego Bay, Jamaica today.
The teams include Samelogic, ClickPaye, Money Mobile Solutions, MekUp Jamaica and Bookfusion of Jamaica; Directory.GY of Guyana; Medi Revu and Caribbean Transit Solutions of Barbados and Reach and Wanderscape of Trinidad and Tobago.
PitchIT Caribbean is being staged by the Caribbean Mobile Innovation Project (CMIP) which is part of the Entrepreneurship Programme for Innovation in the Caribbean, currently being executed by the University of the West Indies Consortium, with funding from the Government of Canada and the World Bank.
The aim of PitchIT Caribbean is to enhance the region’s mobile app development ecosystem.
Twenty-five teams consisting of mobile app developers from seven countries across the Caribbean have been, since Friday morning, pitching to a panel of judges and an audience of regional and global investors in a bid to win US$5000 in seed funding to develop their businesses and a spot in PitchIT business accelerators across the Caribbean.
Other entrants were Carib Auto Express of Barbados; Linkup Group of Dominica; GetThere, Eventah, Pandosoft of Jamaica; Ash.co of St. Kitts and Nevis; FARMS of St. Lucia and Kewsplus, SoftDev Interactive, Wallet, Injury Care Utility, Caribbean Treasure, Drop and Lifeball Technologies of Trinidad and Tobago.
Training manager of the CMIP, Craig Perue in explaining the format of the competition, prior to its official start on Friday morning, explained that the project commenced more than 16 months ago - in January 2015 - but only became highly visible in February 2016. “We had approximately 300 persons across the entire Caribbean – from Suriname in the South all the way up to Belize, who applied. A hundred and fifty persons registered for our training programme and participated in 12 weeks of training. From that 150 persons, 80 teams entered the PitchIT Challenge Competition. And today we have 25 finalists with us,” he said.
Perue said the last two days of the preparation phase which took place on June 1 and 2 in Montego Bay, consisted of a boot camp during which the finalists spent copious amounts of time working on their pitch decks, under the supervision of six expert facilitators.
While acknowledging that the Caribbean was highly placed on the world's list of countries with the most start-up businesses, in most cases they were not offering non-traditional or new products and services, which underscored the relevance of the CMIP. “
It’s worth noting that according to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, two countries – Jamaica and Trinidad are already in the top 10 in the world in terms of entrepreneurial activity. But it is important to note what this means; it means is that we have lots of starters; lots of new businesses founded each year. There were over 3,000 companies new registered just in Jamaica, in 2014. What is needed therefore, ladies and gentlemen, is not simply more new business registrations; we need more innovation,” he said.
“We don’t simply need more of the same; what we need is new business models; innovative business models, new products and new markets and that is what we are here to assess,” he added.
Kirk-Anthony Hamilton is an architectural designer turned entrepreneur and investor from Kingston, Jamaica. He is the CEO of the Infiniti Partnership, a company connecting opportunities to a dynamic network of people, capital and markets. The business focuses on interests in real estate, hospitality, retail, lifestyle and entertainment. Kirk formed the Infiniti Partnership based on a love for collaboration and transforming ideas into business solutions. The Infiniti Partnership is a market maker providing global access. Kirk-Anthony has built a strong reputation for his ability to craft deep partnerships and build communities connecting wealth, influence and opportunity.
Raff is a result and data-driven technical leader with strong experience in ecommerce, retail, logistics, mobile and content-based marketing. His projects include Frank & Oak (2012 winner of Canada’s fastest growing startup) as a founding member, Lightspeed POS, where he led the Omni-channel and Data Sciences divisions, and more recently, Alveo. He is also a partner of Interaction Ventures, a Montreal based investment fund focusing on digital commerce technology. As a respected voice in the entrepreneurial scene, he serve as a speaker and mentor for many growing startups. He is always ready to disrupt through innovation and helps young and motivated team with their project.
Eric Osiakwan is a Tech Entrepreneur and Angel investor with 15 years of ICT industry leadership across Africa and the world. He has worked in 32 African countries setting up ISPs, ISPAs, IXPs and high-tech startups. He Co-Foundered Angel Africa List, Angel Fair Africa and currently serves on the board of Farmerline, Forhey, Teranga Solutions, Siqueries, Arifu, Wanjo Foods, Ghana Cyber City, WABco, Seed Engine and Appfrica – some of which are his investment.
He has founded and built companies and organizations including GNVC, GISPA, AfrISPA, Internet Research, InHand, PenPlusBytes, African Elections Portal, FOSSFA and Ghana Connect. He was part of the team that built the TEAMS submarine cable in East Africa and an ICT Consultant for the WorldBank, Soros Foundations, UNDP, USAID, USDoJ, USDoS as well as African governments and private firms. He co-authored the “Open Access Model”, adopted globally by the telecommunications industry, “Negotiating the Net” – the politics of Internet Diffusion in Africa and “The Internet in Ghana” with the Mosaic Group. He was invited to contribute ideas to Prime Minister Tony Blair’s Commission for Africa. Eric is a Stanford, MIT, Harvard, TED and Poptech fellow.
Sergio A. Escobar is the Managing Director for the Silicon Valley early-stage accelerator Founder Institute in Montreal, plus acts as Program Director for Techstars Startup NEXT training program focused on sales and growth. Sergio is an international entrepreneur who started his career in the Aerospace industry, launched Mobile Payment and vertically-integrated Ecommerce companies, plus small & medium companies (meat packing plant, ostrich farming, leather manufacturing) with equity investments coming from angel investors and family offices. He manages an impressive portfolio of leading Canadian and US early-stage technology based startups in Hardware, Wearables, IoT, Enterprise SaaS, FinTech, EdTech, HealthTech, and FoodTech.
Passionate for developing startup ecosystems in emerging markets as Global Facilitator for Techstars in Latin America, US and Canada. Finally, Sergio is mentor and judge in Canada, Latin America, Silicon Valley, Singapore and London for different programs such as Momentum Accelerator, FounderLab, Startup Bootcamp FinTech, Startup Chile, Startup Peru and others.
Yoni Epstein is the Chairman & CEO of itel-BPO Solutions and holds a leading authority on the subject of outsourcing in the Caribbean along with being the first Vice-President and immediate past President of the Business Process Industry Association of Jamaica (BPIAJ). He was recently named chairman for Car Rental 8.com a rental brokerage firm based in Tampa, Florida that provides a rental car booking service that manages over 70,000 bookings per year and has supply agreements with all of the major car rental brands globally. He also sits as a Board Director of JAMPRO, Jamaica’s investment authority. Lastly, Mr. Epstein is the Chairman of Alpha Angels an angel investment group made up of other entrepreneurs in Montego Bay, Jamaica that invests in early stage startups.
In her professional life, Sybil Welsh has served as Marketing Manager and Consultant in the tourism sector; Public Relations Officer and later Manager of the Human Resources, Research and Statistics of the St. Christopher and Nevis Social Security Board and part time lecturer, for the Centre for Management Development, U.W.I. (St. Kitts campus) where she lectured courses in "Organisational Behaviour and Management" and "Business Policy and Strategy" as part of the Executive Diploma in Management Programme.
She holds an MBA in International Business from The American University, Washington D.C. and a Bachelor’s Degree in Foreign Languages and Business Management from the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, Barbados. She is also a graduate of the Executive Education Programme -Financial Institutions for Private Enterprise Development, Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
The following is a summary of the terms and conditions for the PitchIT Caribbean Challenge June 2016. Please download the official rules (pdf) and read it through carefully before you enter.
Submissions will be judged on the following criteria:
25 finalists will be selected to pitch at the PitchIT Caribbean Challenge in June 2016.
If you are selected as one of the 25 finalists, apart from the opportunity to win the main prize, the PitchIT Caribbean Challenge will provide you with opportunities to:-
Benefit from being a part of a community of innovators who share experiences, knowledge and resources. Source talent and build collaborative efforts for the future.
Ramp up your skills and knowledge through the training, coaching and mentorship we will provide to the selected teams.
Get connected to important players in your target market - large corporates, development organizations, government entities - who can help you to reach your intended customers. intended customers.
Pitch your MVP to startup funders and build relationships that may lead to your project being funded.
Grow in your understanding of investor expectations and how you can present your concept in ways that are more attractive to them.
Take advantage of the publicity and media around the PitchIT Caribbean Challenge and bring your app into the limelight.
You’ll need to explain your vision for what your app will do. Use our guide document to create your executive summary.Download executive summary guide
You’re going to need to create a pitch deck. Here’s a template we’ve created that will help you with that process.Download pitch deck template
Fill out the entry form. You'll need to attach your executive summary and investor pitch deck.Enter now
The PitchIT Caribbean Challenge June 2016 is an event in the PitchIT Caribbean Programme under the Caribbean Mobile Innovation Project (CMIP). The CMIP is part of the Entrepreneurship Program for Innovation in the Caribbean (EPIC) and is executed by a University of the West Indies Consortium consisting of UWI Consulting Inc., Mona School of Business and Management (MSBM) and the Mona Business Support Services (MBSS).
Funded by the Government of Canada and executed by the World Bank, CMIP aims to develop the mobile app development ecosystem by bringing together mobile app developers, financiers, investors and industry players to accelerate the development of mobile app startups in the Caribbean.