Two Barbadians in the Caribbean Tech Entrepreneurship finals

During Global Entrepreneurship Week, the Caribbean Development Bank congratulated 22 startups who reached the final stage of the Caribbean Tech Entrepreneurship Programme (CTEP).  The Bank continues to push for Caribbean economic transformation through digital innovation and supports CTEP in its virtual incubator and accelerator programme.

CTEP, aimed at stimulating technology entrepreneurship in the Caribbean and facilitated by Orbit Innovation, connects start-ups and entrepreneurs in CDB’s 19 Borrowing Member Countries with regional facilitators and mentors who are experts in their respective fields.

Cole Spader

Cole Spader at BMEX2017 showing visitors how to use his app

After a selection process during summer, 90 startups were handpicked for the September – December 2019 programme. They then undertook a rigorous training programme of learning modules, workshops and Mentor sessions to prepare them for each stage of their business and the semi-finals of the programme. To ensure fair competition, businesses were placed into three distinct groups: Ideation, Validation and Scale-Up consisting of 50, 30 and 10 participants respectively.

A key proponent of the programme is virtual working, with a requirement to upload their submissions: pitch decks, demo videos and presentations, online. These submissions were evaluated by a remote panel of regional and international judges from technical, business development and investor backgrounds. Their scores were combined with their CTEP participation, attendance and grades.

Marc Gibson

Marc Gibson signing copies at the launch of his first graphic novel, Bridgeland: Vol. 1

22 of the 90 startups selected will compete in the Regional Finals to win prizes. The overall winners in their respective categories will receive CTEP seals of recognition and prizes at an awards ceremony in Barbados in December 2019. All teams may continue to participate in workshops and meetups to obtain maximum benefit from the programme.

Previous winners in their categories from the first programme in CTEP 2019 Cohort 1 have gone on to achieve further success:-

  • Corey Zufelt, ‘I am Local (Grenada) has been nominated by The Grenada Chamber of Industry & Commerce for the 2019 Excellence in Tourism Industry Award
  • Shawn Melville, Ipsum Technologies’ (Trinidad and Tobago) was recently awarded The Entrepreneurship World Cup Global 100 Award for being among the top 100 start-ups while representing the Caribbean in Saudi Arabia
  • Michael Husbands, Global Tutoring Hub, (Barbados) was selected by Design Terminal to be on their three-month Mentor’s Program in Budapest.

Lisa Harding, Coordinator of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Development at CDB said the programme was aligned with the Bank’s wider support for digital transformation and innovation initiatives: “CDB is delighted with the response by Caribbean entrepreneurs in this second phase of the CTEP programme, which confirms the significant benefits which an online incubator can bring to entrepreneurs at all stages of the business cycle. One of the biggest struggles entrepreneurs face is finding the right small business community to develop strong networks. CTEP also offers this solution in a digital space.”

Christopher Harper, Judge said: “As usual, the standard of the businesses and ideas presented were high. What I noticed this year was that there were a higher number of businesses seeking to address more social issues, for example, those relating to nutrition and education, while trying to ensure that the disparity between the classes is closed.”

Troy Weekes, Project Manager of CTEP remarked: “We are extremely pleased with the overwhelming number of applicants for the second phase of the programme. It is also encouraging to note that overall feedback from the first group was highly favourable and they indicated guidance from the facilitators and mentors was extremely valuable.

He continued: As technology has made the world smaller, it is a pre-requisite that our regional entrepreneurs possess the required skills to compete on a global scale. With strides made by the first cohort, we know they have the business acumen to do so successfully.”

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