Dispelling notions of male domination in the field, five mobile app developers – two each from Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago and the other from Montserrat – took all the top prizes at the PitchIT Caribbean Challenge tech entrepreneurship competition recently concluded in Trinidad & Tobago.
Winning entries The Interview JM and QuickPlate of Jamaica, D Carnival Scene and SKED of Trinidad, and IndeTours of Montserrat were selected after two rigorous days of pitching to two panels of judges and an audience of regional and global investors. Each the top five teams will receive US$5000 in seed funding to develop their businesses. They have also been awarded spots in PitchIT Caribbean business accelerators across the region.
In announcing the winners, Chief Judge Rodney Browne from St. Kitts & Nevis and eCaribbean Ltd., said the five were the most impressive of the ten finalists who made presentations to the panel of judges earlier in the day. In accord with Mr. Brown was Canadian High Commissioner to Trinidad & Tobago, Carla Hogen Rufelds, who said she was “impressed by the success of the project, which only serves to enrich the longstanding relationship between Canada and the Caribbean region.” She was also pleased by the camaraderie displayed between the contestants and how well they supported each other throughout the challenge.
A total of 25 tech entrepreneurs from ten countries across the Caribbean (up from last year’s seven) participated in the competition, the aim of which is to identify and enhance the region’s top mobile app development talent.
Finalists by country comprised: TickeTing from Antigua & Barbuda; Rivver, Fix Device, and Data-Bus from Barbados; Buzzshop from Dominica; Click-n-Learn from Guyana; Tikkiz, Driving Change, Shopmobi, and Atendify from Jamaica; Teacher’s Pet and Lim’n Spoon from St. Lucia; Oversea from St. Vincent & the Grenadines; Atete from Suriname; and Optimo Cloud, GoSweat, upShopr, Tech4Agri, EveDrop and The Billionaires League from Trinidad & Tobago.
PitchIT Caribbean is a programme aimed at enhancing the mobile app development ecosystem across CARICOM. It is designed to accelerate mobile app entrepreneurs through the start-up life cycle, which runs from ideation to pitch, from pitch to market and from market to maturity.
It currently supports 4 hubs, one each in Barbados, Dominica, St. Kitts and Nevis, and Trinidad & Tobago. PitchIT Caribbean is the central operation of the Caribbean Mobile Innovation Project, which is part of the Entrepreneurship Programme for Innovation in the Caribbean (EPIC), an initiative funded by the Government of Canada and executed by infoDev/World Bank Group, through a three-party Caribbean consortium, led by UWI Consulting Inc., working along with Mona School of Business and Management, and Mona Business Support Services.