Archive for October, 2015

Jamaican start-ups to pitch at investor conference in Finland

Tuesday, October 20th, 2015

 

Jamaican start-ups to pitch at investor conference in Finland

Kingston, September 28, 2015: PitchIT Caribbean, the World-Bank funded project concerned with mobile app business development in CARICOM, has announced that three Jamaican start-ups have been selected to participate in Slush 2015 Global Impact Accelerator, one of the world’s most dynamic tech ecosystems, which will be held in Helsinki, Finland November 11 and 12 this year. The start-ups are AgroCentral, NiriTech and Transcel.

One member from each entity will travel, all-expense paid, to the Scandinavian region to present their business plans to potential investors across Europe to raise capital that can rapidly accelerate their businesses.

This announcement was made at the General Accident boardroom on Friday (September 25, 2015), where Musson Group deputy chairman, Melanie Subratie and Prof. Claremont Kirton, acting executive director, UWI Consulting were on hand to congratulate the winning teams.

Robert Whitehorne, project manger, PitchIT Caribbean, will accompany the teams to the Cold North or so called Slushy region – a dark, cold and remote area –  from which technologies such as Linux, MySQL, Angry Birds, Spotify and Skype have emerged.

“This sends an important message to the app development community across the region. It affirms the ethos of PitchIT Caribbean, which is that Caribbean ideators can establish high-quality mobile products that can lead to highly competitive businesses that can attract the attention and possible financing from investors across the world,” said Whitehome.

“Jamaica is the only country from the Caribbean participating at this conference and one of only a few countries from among the 15, with three representatives. When you consider other countries such as Brasil, Armenia, China, South Africa, Kenya,Vietnam and others, our involvement, with three start-ups underscores the fact that what our developers and business minds are doing here can have a meaningful impact on the world,” he continued.

His views are supported by ICT specialist, with 30 years experience, Dr Andrea Barrett, Lecturer, Joan Duncan School of Entrepreneurship, Ethics and Leadership who spoke at the event, saying: “The fact that we are carrying the Jamaican flag to Helsinki is a big deal on the international stage. Helsinki is one of the leading countries in the innovation space so this is a validation of the level of competencies that exist within Jamaica, as a developing country. Jamaica is always on a trajectory of innovation but has not been recognised on the international stage. So when peers at an international level have validated the level of skill set and competencies, it speaks well for the level of our education and  investments in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) programme.”

The Impact Accelerator is a global programme co-organised by Slush and the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, World Bank and InfoDev and 15 partnering hubs from emerging markets across the globe.

PitchIT Caribbean, the partner hub from the region, staged a demo day late July, where ten start-ups, whose entities were socially impacting, scalable and had some traction in the maket picthed in front of a panel of judges comprising Melanie Subratie, Dr Andrea Barrett, Robert Whitehorne and Ramon McLaren.

In the end AgroCentral, NiriTech and Transcel were the three finalists that faced the SLUSH team in a virtual interview session and were all subsequently given an all-expense paid trip to the 2015 staging.

Over 30 start-ups from 15 countries will present their businesses to hundreds of investors with the hopes of attracting funding to move their businesses forward.

PitchIT Caribbean is powered by UWI Consulting the lead in the three-party consortium, which uses expertise from the University of the West Indies’ vast network of specialists across the region to deliver results for a wide range of clients. PitchIT Caribbean is one among the range of projects being handled by UWIC on behalf of multi-laterals such as The World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank.

 

About PitchIT Caribbean

PitchIT Caribbean, under the remit of the Caribbean Mobile Innovation Project (CMIP), is a two-tiered partnership approach to support growth-oriented mobile app businesses in the Caribbean.

Administered by a University of the West Indies (UWI) Consortium led by UWI Consulting Inc. and also comprising the Mona School of Business and Management (MSBM) and the Mona Business Support Services (MBSS), PitchIT Caribbean is a part of the Entrepreneurship programme for Innovation in the Caribbean (EPIC), funded by the Government of Canada and executed by InfoDev/World Bank, spanning 14 Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries.

PItchIT Caribbean is designed to strengthen the Caribbean mobile innovation ecosystem and enable sustainable and competitive mobile enterprises to grow through activities that will target early stage innovators and guide them to market readiness.

The aim is for the creation of a regional pool of high-growth potential mobile start-ups with the capacity to release their apps to the market and raise additional capital to grow.

PitchIT Caribbean, which is working to identify and nurture the top developers and entrepreneurial teams in the region as well as to cultivate the future talent in the region’s mobile sector, is being implemented in three phases:

Phase 1 From Ideation to Pitch

The structuring and organization of activities with local partner mobile innovation hubs (mHubs) to develop and improve the business and technical skills of mobile entrepreneurs , including training programmes, hackathons and business acceleration bootcamps. Run an annual Regional competition which culminates with a pitch event in which the winning teams receive access to pre-incubation services.

Phase 2 From Pitch to Market

Undertake the pre-incubation services provided to the winning teams including investment readiness boot camps, mentoring and networking events.

Phase 3 From Market to Maturity

Supervise the winning teams’ progress during this period and match the teams with investors and additional support where there is a fit.

Foster and maintain the network of alumni to enable additional opportunities for networking and peer to peer learning.

More on SLUSH:

http://www.slush.org/

UWI Consulting joins International Consulting Alliance

Monday, October 12th, 2015


UWI Consulting has  joined the International Consulting Alliance (ICA) network as it continues to fulfil its mission of being the leading research and consulting firm in the Caribbean region. The International Consulting Alliance (ICA) is a network of independent and like-minded organisations dedicated to providing top quality development consultancy services in emerging economies.

ICA is an exclusive club which ensures that members are complementary and form a true network of trust. Each new membership is carefully considered and brought to the attention of the Alliance’s existing members. The platform provides a unique global platform for firms to share knowledge, best practices and business opportunities.

As a member of the Alliance, UWI Consulting is able to readily access regional and international new business opportunities and an expansive network of global partners. The firm has secured access to business intelligence tools through a secure web-based knowledge sharing platform as well as access to ICA’s database of over 17,000 CVs. ICA also offers opportunities for individual consultants to undertake global projects either with the firm of direct affiliation or with other members within the ICA network.

Register with us as a UWIC Affiliate and benefit from the global opportunities to supply your consultancy services. You may send your Curriculum Vitae to: cvs@uwiconsulting.com

 

Call to entrepreneurs: Are you seeking Capital to fund your project? “Grow with the Crowd”!

Tuesday, October 6th, 2015

Six things we learned from Accelerate Caribbean’s webinar on crowdfunding

By Tassia Stewart on September 26, 2015

‘Chart your own path!’ ‘Don’t follow company!’ as we say in the Caribbean. Who hasn’t been taught to try being different, innovative, to differentiate from the crowd?

Yet what about raising your game thanks to the crowd? Crowdfunding is an increasingly popular method of raising capital for your business and projects by engaging your entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Crowdfunding is the practice of funding a project or venture by raising money from a large number of people (a crowd), typically via the internet. Your success depends on your ability to build popularity, and to act as an inspirational entrepreneur enticing the stakeholders’ community to support your project.

Ms. A. Cecile Watson[1], the Caribbean’s own crowdfunding evangelist, encouraged us to go with the crowd, as she led Accelerate Caribbean’s webinar ‘How to win a crowdfunding?’ on Wednesday September 16, 2015. This webinar was the first in a four-part series put on by Accelerate Caribbean to engage various topics of interest to entrepreneurs over the next 12 months. Sixty-six captivated participants from across the entire Caribbean entrepreneurial community joined the webinar and Cecile did a phenomenal job explaining the ins and outs of crowd-funding as a means of raising capital.

Here are five takeaways that could help you boosting your project:

  1. Crowdfunding works! Yes! From the Jamaican bobsleigh team raising funds for the 2014 Sochi Olympics, to Jamaican broadcaster Patria-Kaye Aarons raising capital for her candy company, Sweetie, crowdfunding is a proven and realistic way to raise funds for your business venture or project.

 

  1. Be ready to pitch! Just as you would make a pitch to angel investors in a boardroom, you should be prepared to tell the crowd why you need their hard-earned money and what you will do with it.

 

  1. Female Business leaders are almost 10 times more successful in raising capital with online platforms than with traditional banks and five times more successful compared to their venture capital investments. Wow, crowdfunding is providing better options for women entrepreneurs. How encouraging!

 

  1. All Crowdfunding platforms and campaigns are not the same! Under ‘keep it all’ campaigns, all pledged funds are handed over to the project whilst under ‘all or nothing’ campaigns the project will only get the funds if meeting a pre-set performance target. Funding models can additionally vary, from lending based models to donations based, equity based and rewards based models. The diversity of existing strategies and opportunities require entrepreneurs to conduct research and wisely choose the approach that best matches their objectives!

 

  1. You cannot run a successful crowdfunding campaign without Social Media! Social Media is how entrepreneurs find and connect with potential friends and investors and measure the potential reach of their business. So engage in the online world and build your crowd from now!

 

Good luck to our innovators and entrepreneurs working to pitch their crowdfunding campaigns to grow their businesses and create homegrown jobs and opportunities. Follow this link to revisit Cecile’s crowdfunding webinar.

 

Accelerate Caribbean is a Business Incubation and Training program designed by infoDev (the World Bank Group) as part of its Entrepreneurship Program for Innovation in the Caribbean (EPIC), funded by the Government of Canada. The project is implemented by IMC Worldwide Ltd in partnership with Koltai & Co, UWI Consulting, and BCSI, with a focus on increasing business enablers’ capacity to innovate and scale-up their service offering to entrepreneurs through a tailored package of training and mentorship.

IMC Worldwide is a UK based international development consultancy with over 50 years’ experience managing complex programs addressing the world’s foremost international development challenges.

 

[1] Cecile Watson is the Co-Founder and CEO of Pitch & Choose, the Caribbean’s first native crowdfunding platform. Her impressive career in business and finance informed her crowdfunding experience which has taken her from the Caribbean to North America, Africa and back.