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Four young OECS entrepreneurs have placed in the top three of the Caribbean Tech Entrepreneurship Programme (CTEP), an initiative designed to help address unemployment in the Caribbean by leveraging opportunities in the Virtual Economy.
CTEP provides regionally relevant capacity-building workshops and critical mentorship support and is focused on stimulating the creation, and supporting the growth, of technology entrepreneurship in the Caribbean Development Bank’s (CDB) 19 Borrowing Member Countries.
The virtual incubator and accelerator programme commenced its 1st cohort in January 2019, which saw selected entrepreneurs (teams) competing for cash and business support prizes.
50 teams competed in the business ideation stage, 30 in the business validation stage and 10 in the business scale-up stage.
Among the nine overall winners, two 1st Place Winners and two 3rd Place Winners emerged from the OECS:
* I’m Local: Cory Zufelt of Grenada, 1st Place Winner in the Scale-up Phase;
* Bodio: Linda Dias of Montserrat, 1st Place Winner in the Ideation Phase;
* LinkUp: Kenna Questelles George of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, 3rd Place Winner in the Validation Phase; and
* Packed Grocery Delivery: Chaneil Imhoff of Antigua and Barbuda, 3rd Place Winner in the Ideation Phase.
Lisa Harding, Coordinator of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Development at CDB, outlined support for sustainable growth as one of the Bank’s strategic objectives.
“This technology focused incubator programme creates a platform for scores of entrepreneurs to develop the skills they need to advance their businesses, and to develop a range of innovative solutions for the market. They, in turn, can be better positioned to create further employment opportunities for others as they expand their companies, and indeed contribute to the digital transformation of the Region,” Harding said.
Kwesi Roberts, Business Development Specialist at the OECS Competitive Business Unit (CBU), congratulated the OECS firms for their commendable performance in the programme and welcomed continued collaboration with the CDB to further increase the participation of OECS firms.
“The OECS CBU is delighted by the performance of the 4 young OECS entrepreneurs who secured top positions in the CTEP. We are also pleased to note that LinkUp from St. Vincent and the Grenadines, which was the winner of the OECS TEECA Caribbean Entrepreneurship Challenge, is the only OECS firm to place in the top three positions of the validation stage.
“As we continue to implement virtual entrepreneurship programs in the OECS region, we look forward to supporting these startups and also supporting the Business Service Organisations who execute national programmes to strengthen the entrepreneurship ecosystem and foster the growth of startups within the region,” Roberts added.
CTEP is being executed and managed by Orbit Innovation, using an approach comprising:
1. intensive applied learning activities designed to develop management skills and entrepreneurial capacities;
2. appropriate theoretical contexts that immerses entrepreneurs into interactive business innovation scenarios, modules and discussions;
3. relevant and entrepreneur specific practitioner and mentorship support; and
4. web-based business toolkits and critical skills learning modules.
MEET THE WINNERS
Cory Zufelt from Grenada is the Co-founder and CEO of I’m Local, an online marketplace that connects visitors and locals with affordable on-demand experiences, activities and tours from trusted local providers.
The I’m Local network makes it easy to discover and book activities, make reservations and schedule transportation all from the mobile app or website.
The network uses game like elements to engage, motivate and reward users, to explore the real world and interact with real people. Users start off as a Tourist and work their way up to become a Local, then Local VIP and eventually a Local Celebrity, unlocking special perks, discounts and rewards along the way.
Linda Dias from Montserrat is the founder of Bodio, a mobile application to serve the entertainment and hospitality industries. This application allows musicians to interact, collaborate, increase their exposure, and aims to simplify the booking process.
The app’s BoDirectory provides a registry of bands, musicians, DJ’s, lyricists, producers, event promoters and venues to make it easy for talent bookings.
The app also contains Bodio Connect, a social networking medium for musicians to create professional relationships, exchange ideas with others in the entertainment and hospitality industries, and market themselves.
Additionally, users can browse through Bodio News, a one-stop-shop for global updates in the entertainment world.
Kenna Questelles George
Kenna Questelles George from St. Vincent and the Grenadines is the co-founder of LinkUp, an Information Technology-driven startup that allows users in St. Vincent and the Grenadines to buy a product, find a service or grow their business more efficiently and conveniently.
LinkUp endeavours to stimulate growth within St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the Caribbean as a whole, by placing local skilled persons and unique businesses at the fingertips of all consumers. The service also empowers businesses to acquire new customers, increase sales and reward loyalty.
Kenna is a semi-finalist in the TEECA Caribbean Entrepreneurship Challenge and will compete in the finals scheduled to be held in Martinique in June, 2019.
Chaneil Imhoff from Antigua and Barbuda is the founder of Packed Grocery Delivery, an on demand grocery delivery service that allows users in Antigua and Barbuda to order top-rated products from reputable supermarkets island-wide using Packed’s web-based platforms (Mobile and Desktop Application and Website) from the comfort of their homes or offices.
With the popularity of online shopping, Packed brings that convenience closer to home.
About the Caribbean Tech Entrepreneurship Programme
The Caribbean Tech Entrepreneurship Programme (CTEP) is an initiative of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the World Bank Group in partnership with the Caribbean Climate Innovation Centre. It tailors support for participants according to the stage at which the entrepreneur or firm is currently operating.
CTEP addresses two main problems faced by youth: the lack of appropriate job opportunities and the lack of a regional strategy to promote entrepreneurship and innovation.