Saturday 8 August, 2020

UTech students walk way with $700,000 in Sagicor Innovation Challenge

Christopher Zacca (left), President and CEO, Sagicor Group Jamaica presents the winning trophy and cheque to members of Team Byte Size who emerged winners of the Sagicor Innovation Challenge among UTech students. From left are Romareo Bromfield, Sashamoy Palmer and Denzil Williams.

Christopher Zacca (left), President and CEO, Sagicor Group Jamaica presents the winning trophy and cheque to members of Team Byte Size who emerged winners of the Sagicor Innovation Challenge among UTech students. From left are Romareo Bromfield, Sashamoy Palmer and Denzil Williams.

It was an intense day of competition as nine teams, comprising students from the University of Technology, Jamaica, (Utech, Jamaica) vied for the top prize and bragging rights in the finals of the inaugural Sagicor Innovation Lab Smart Society Innovation Challenge.

The competition, which launched in February of this year, started with 18 teams consisting of 75 students in total, hailing from four of the university’s faculties.

The teams that made it to the finals – Elite Only; K.R.E.M; Tech Gen; Innovists; Polar Technologies; Pseudo Reality; Byte Size; West Effect and HackerX, all presented in the first round of presentations, making their innovation pitch to a panel of five judges, which included a mix of Sagicor and UTech, Jamaica representatives.

Following a nail-biting first round, which saw innovations looking at improvements to the health sector through digitizing of medical records; a taxi app, to help the transporting public track route taxis; real estate applications to match persons with their ideal properties; an online scheduling app; a food/delivery app; a virtual reality learning app; an innovation to help with waste management and an app to help persons find local ‘hidden gems’, entertainment spots and events; the judges then had the hard task of advancing four teams to the final round.

With a second chance to impress the judges with their innovation – teams HackerX – “Go Out app”; Elite Only - “MedPad App”; K.R.E.M – “Route Taxi App”, and Byte Size – “Rentaly”, came back stronger in the final round, looking to cop the top prize of $500,000 or place 2nd or 3rd for a cash prize of $100,000 and $50,000 respectively.

Byte Size with their real estate based app – Rentaly! was announced as the winners, after returning in the final round with much more detailed research into the business model for the app and ‘wowing’ the judges with their presentation; HackerX and K.R.EM tied for second place and will both receive $100,000 each.

Sagicor Innovation challenge

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Commending all the teams for their participation and brilliant ideas; President and CEO of Sagicor Group Jamaica, Christopher Zacca, noted that Jamaica has a tremendously bright future ahead of it with the amazingly talented young people in our country. He said, “What I have seen here today during this innovation competition is nothing short of genius; I am truly proud of every one of these students who conceptualized their innovation and was confident and brave enough to present to us.”

Zacca added, “I am just really happy and excited that Sagicor is standing behind this initiative through the Innovation Lab at UTech, Jamaica as it is so important for us to nurture our brilliant, young minds and help to guide them into taking their ideas and turning them in reality,”

The Sagicor Smart Society Innovation Challenge is an initiative of the Sagicor Innovation Lab, which is located on the UTech, Jamaica Papine campus. The Innovation Lab was developed out of an Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), signed between Sagicor and the university in 2019; the MoU looked at how the two entities can create synergies and leverage its strengths to bolster innovation in the arena of Information Communication Technology (ICT), as well as integration  of resources to support research and development on financial technology; collaborative research projects and technology initiatives; staff and student development and training, and resource sharing on emerging ICT.

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