Jamaican start-ups win top Intl Business Model Competition

Beasc Technologies and Eco-Structures make history

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

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Jamaican start-ups Beasc Technologies and Eco-Structures made history by topping the International Business Model Competition (IBMC) held in Provo, Utah in the United States, last week, capturing first and second places, respectively.

Winner of the 2018 IBMC, Beasc Technologies from Northern Caribbean University (NCU), walked away with US$30,000 and the 'travelling trophy', while Eco-Structures, the runner-up team from The University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, received a cash prize of US$20,000.

“It is a feat never before accomplished. We are overjoyed. Imagine first and second in our fifth year of entering this world-class event. This is amazing,” Douglas Lindo, national coach of the National Business Model Competition (NBMC), who also travelled with the teams to the competition, stated.

The Jamaican delegation, which also included local winner Queritel and Skolastic Oasis from UWI and Pneulyfe from NCU, competed against teams from another 38 universities at the IBMC. Queritel placed seventh and received a consolation prize of US $3,500.

Managing director for the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) Milverton Reynolds and Audrey Richards, project coordinator of the Jamaica Venture Capital Programme, both believe that the performances of the teams validate the training in and use of the business model canvas in preparation for the IBMC.

Noting that the achievement of the teams is “phenomenal”, Reynolds told the Jamaica Observer, “For a small nation such as ours to have had five teams at this prestigious competition and then winning first and second places and with a third team in the top 10 out of 5,000 from around the world is simply an amazing achievement.”

“This proves that the business model canvas works and I would like to see more small business operators using it to validate and build their businesses. The record shows that if the canvas is properly used, businesses have a 90 per cent chance of succeeding. The DBJ is dedicated and committed to the continued success of the local business model competition and say a heartfelt thank you to the sponsors of the 2018 NBMC,” he reasoned.

Richards said the achievements of the teams were testament to the start-up ecosystem that Jamaica has so far developed, as well as the culture of entrepreneurship which is now entrenched in that ecosystem.

“We [at the Jamaica Venture Capital Unit at the DBJ] are focused on transforming our entrepreneurial culture through the NBMC by offering training in the use of the business model canvas and the exposure of our student entrepreneurs to the international audiences,” Richards told the Business Observer.

“For the 2018 staging of the NBMC, organised at four universities, in excess of 500 students participated in sensitisation and business sessions, boot camps, etc, in preparation for the national competition. We see this entrepreneurial movement of supporting dynamic entrepreneurs as having the potential for local, regional and global impact in the same way we have impacted sports and music,” Richards said.

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