Fourteen teams of student entrepreneurs are gearing up to compete for up to $4 million and an all-expense paid trip to represent Jamaica at the International Business Model Competition (IBMC) in Utah.
The tertiary students will compete on Thursday and Friday at the 2018 staging of the National Business Model Competition at the Knutsford Court Hotel.
The NBMC is one of the many initiatives of the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) that is aimed at ensuring a robust entrepreneurial ecosystem exists in Jamaica.
“This initiative that we have created and which is being executed by our universities is pivotal and will form the background and, indeed, is the platform for unearthing dynamic business ideas, thought leaders and new and revolutionary businesses that will impact not just Jamaica but the wider Caribbean,” stated Audrey Richards, Project Coordinator, Jamaica Venture Capital Programme, at the Development Bank of Jamaica, and who has direct responsibility for the NBMC.
Finalists in the 2015 staging of the National Business Model Competition, Kadeem Petgrave and Simier Lansend of Educatours JA converse with Audrey Tungwell-Henry, Executive Vice President, Retail Banking, Caribbean, Central and North America for Scotiabank.
Leading up to the finals, each school has been hosting internal competitions to select the teams that will represent their university on March 22 and 23.
Participating universities are: four- time NBMC winner, Northern Caribbean University (NCU); Edna Manley College of the Visual & Performing Arts (EMC); University of the West Indies (UWI); and University of Technology, Jamaica (UTECH).
“Annually, we look forward to this competition as it has become a fixture on UTECH’s calendar of events. We appreciate the synergy that is being developed between Jamaica’s public-private sector (led by the DBJ) and the university community in Jamaica. The DBJ and its partners of this year’s NBMC - IDB-MIF; PanJam Investment, Restaurants Associates through its flagship brand Burger King, Musson Foundation, NCB Foundation, Sagicor Group, Scotiabank, GK Capital Management and the PetroCaribe Development Fund - have brought 'student entrepreneurship’ to the forefront of the nation’s agenda. Everyone is now talking about the subject. We are proud to be playing our role in nurturing and moulding Jamaica’s future leaders,” stated Dr. Carol Nathan, Lecturer, University of Technology, Jamaica
The business ideas for this year’s competition include concepts from a wide variety of sectors and industries in the society including: Biotechnology, Agrotechnology, Health and Wellness, Construction, Security Technology and the Service Sector.
Each team will receive ten minutes to pitch their business ideas to the Judges Panel, followed by a brief Q&A. Judges, drawn from the list of sponsors and Jamaica’s investment community, will select the winner to be announced at the Awards Ceremony, following the Finals on March 23.
The Business Model Canvas is a management tool that is geared at reducing the failure of startups. It differs from the static business plan and focuses on interacting with potential customers to gain their feedback, then pivoting and reassessing their original concepts based on lessons learnt and customer feedback. The Business Model Canvas is universally accepted as an excellent tool to be used, not just for startups, but businesses wishing to scale.
The impact of the NBMC over these past years, both at the university level, and nationally, has been tremendous. A number of the teams which entered the NBMC are now fully operational and have progressed well; some have won awards, grants and financing, others have established markets locally and internationally. The performances of the national teams at the International Business Model Competition held in the USA have been phenomenal, as well - every year the Jamaica team places in the top ten out of over 5,000 students and 42 universities worldwide.
The Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) through its Jamaica Venture Capital Programme (JVCP) and the Private Sector Organization of Jamaica (PSOJ) provide project management, technical support and leadership support during the National Business Model Competition.