Jan 07, 2020 News
In a recent awards closing ceremony, nine overall winners of the regional Caribbean Tech Entrepreneurship Programme (CTEP) were named in Barbados. The event was attended by the judges, special guests and the local media.
With a special display of their goods and services, guests were also able to interact with the start-ups who explained how they intend to operate in their chosen niches.
CTEP, funded by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and facilitated by Orbit Innovation, seeks to stimulate technology entrepreneurship and provides new business opportunities for youth in CDB’s 19 Borrowing Member Countries, by connecting start-ups and entrepreneurs with expert regional facilitators and mentors.
Nearly 150 start-ups applied and 90 received a coveted spot in the three-month virtual programme. They were required to attend relevant business workshops and assigned supportive mentors.
They were placed into three distinct groups: Ideation, Validation and Scale-Up consisting of 50, 30 and 10 participants respectively. Virtual working was a key component of CTEP and in preparation for the semi-finals, each start-up was required to submit pitch decks, demo videos and presentations, online.
Nearly two dozen start-ups reached the finals. Nine were selected as the overall winners in their categories. The final scores were a combination of their CTEP participation, attendance and grades reviewed by a remote panel of regional and international judges with technical, business development and investor backgrounds.
First place winner in the Validation category is an all-female led team, Guyana Animation Network Inc., (GAN), a non-profit that creates multiple levels of connectivity for the creative community by teaching Guyanese children and youth, animation and digital media.
Since 2016, it has improved the lives of over 300 young people who experience limited access to creative and digital skills training and the resources needed to navigate the advancing digital world.
Francine Leitch, who represented the team at the ceremony said: “To further amplify the impact we have made over the last three years, it is compulsory that we are equipped with the skills and tools necessary to improve our operations.
“As such, we were grateful for the opportunity to be accepted into CTEP and emerge as winners, establishing Guyana’s presence among the Caribbean tech community and winners.”
She further added, “Our involvement in this programme will foster the growth of our start-up through the invaluable lessons learnt, resources shared, and relationships made.
“We are thankful for the Caribbean Development Bank, Orbit Innovation, facilitators, judges, and mentors, who have provided support and services to improve and transform what we have now successfully validated.”
In his address at the ceremony, Daniel Best, Director of the Projects Department of Caribbean Development Bank applauded Orbit Innovation for facilitating CTEP and its willingness to step outside the box by designing and implementing projects that stimulate technology entrepreneurship in the Caribbean.
He stated: “We are entering the final decade in the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and for the region to be able to accomplish the ambitious goals it has set to improve the lives of Caribbean people, it will need to fully and capably embrace digital innovation.
“CDB has continued to push for the Caribbean to unlock economic transformation through digital innovation and we fully support CTEP in its virtual incubator and accelerator programme.
“These start-ups serve as evidence of CTEP’s, efficient, effective and innovation-focused approach to the development of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.
“We have observed the gruelling processes to identify the best firms with the right DNA, innovative ideas and the capacity to adapt and grow.
“This is critical, when we consider that most of our regional economies are struggling to achieve meaningful and sustained economic growth above two percent.”
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