Friday, December 6, 2013

Top Caribbean Tech Entrepreneurs Globalise Their Pitches

Tech entrepreneurs from Jamaica, Trinidad, Barbados and St. Kitts and Nevis seeking to ‘go global' assembled on the rooftop of the Digicel Headquarters in Kingston for an intense two day workshop in mid-November.

The group were all finalists in the pitchIT Caribbean business pitch competition for web or mobile businesses held earlier in the year.  The workshop falls under the World Bank’s Entrepreneurship Programme for Innovation in the Caribbean, EPIC, and its Caribbean Mobile Innovation Programme.

Carlette DeLeon participates in a lively discussion with Jennifer Raffoul, tech entrepreneur behind Made In The Caribbean and Patrick King, Distribution Director, Digicel at the recently concluded pitchIT Caribbean Workshop in Kingston, Jamaica. Photo credit: Collin Reid
Entrepreneur-in-Residence, infoDev Group and Workshop Facilitator Angelique Mannella noted that the ‘deep dive’ workshop sought to illustrate, “technical improvements that the entrepreneurs can have in their business and also help them prepare for speaking to investors”.



"Every innovation in the world started with an idea,” noted Marie Legault, Councilor and Head of Cooperation for the High Commission of Canada in Jamaica in her presentation to the startups.  The Canadian Government provides $20 million to support the regional programme to boost economic growth.  She advised the participants to maximize the time they have with the experts making presentations.

Following several hours of immersive training, the entrepreneurs refined the pitches for their business ideas and made presentations to the panel of experts that led the workshop.  The pitches were evaluated based on their likelihood to attract three types of investors: venture capitalists, angel and corporate.

VentureOut Challenge Jamaica winner Grik.ly was determined to be the most likely to receive venture capital funding, Trinidad based Interact XL was determined to be most likely to attract an angel investor while compatriots Made In the Caribbean was assessed most likely to benefit from a corporate investor.

Startup Weekend Jamaica winners Project Agro, Barbados developers SimPlify and CariOLA from St. Kitts and Nevis received honorable mentions in each of the three categories respectively.

Workshop Facilitator Angelique Mannella making a presentation at a two day 'deep dive' workshop for regional tech entrepreneurs from the pitchIT Caribbean competition.  The workshop was hosted by Digicel in Kingston, Jamaica.  Photo credit: Collin Reid
While none of the tech entrepreneurs participating have launched all are in various stages of development in preparation for 2014 rollouts.

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