A Trinidad and Tobago-based company, which produces gluten-free pasta, gluten-free flours and prepared meals from fresh sweet potatoes and cassava, has won the inaugural Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Republic Bank Business Model Competition.
The St Lucia-based OECS Commission said that the competition was a strategic initiative of the OECS Sustainable Development Movement designed to strengthen entrepreneurship in the Caribbean through capacity building, access to investors and leveraging opportunities.
Slimdown360, a company investing in various types of root crop pasta, flours and ready-to-eat frozen meals, won the US$20,000 first prize, followed by Project Jaguar: Home of the Teacherpreneur, the Antigua-based online, two-sided marketplace that enables educators to create, go-to-market, and teach guided online courses as teacherpreneurs. It won the US$10,000 second prize.
The US$5,000 third prize went to the St Kitts-Nevis-based Genesis Payment Solutions.
The OECS said that of the 30 Caribbean entrepreneurs who embarked on the eight-week journey of capacity building and networking via integration into the Business Model Competition’s virtual network of business development support, 19 entrepreneurs advanced to the semi-final phase and eight were selected to participate in the final.
The organisers said the OECS-Republic Bank Business Model Competition was aimed at strengthening the capacity of 30 high-growth potential entrepreneurs in the Caribbean via integration into a Virtual Accelerator; facilitate the connection of high growth potential entrepreneurs to investors and mentors; facilitate business match-making; and connect entrepreneurs to an ecosystem of business development support.
Slimdown360 chief executive officer, Jody White, said the company has found a way to create a scalable, value-added product, operating in a specialty, higher-value market, out of them.
“Slimdown360 fulfils the needs of a large, untapped consumer segment while supporting regional agriculture. The company interacts with the entire value chain, from the farm to the final product,” he said with the company’s customers largely overseas.
The company’s products were recently selected as Amazon’s Choice in the Paleo category of the Amazon website.
Trevaun Solomon said Project Jaguar in Antigua and Barbuda is a community and suite of services for teacherpreneurs around the Caribbean.
“It is designed for teachers to run an online course and grow it into an online teaching business. The service gives teachers the tools and training needed to progress towards entrepreneurship to stimulate the education industry,” the chief executive officer said.
The chief executive officer of Genesis Payment Systems Inc, Alex Straun, said the St Kitts-Nevis-based company fosters community empowerment through Financial Technology (FinTech). The company seeks the security and inclusion of all law-abiding citizens into the financial system while enhancing efficiency and reducing costs.