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Jamaican start-ups to pitch at investor conference in Finland

20 Oct, 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.

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