(PRESS RELEASE) – During Global Entrepreneurship Week, the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) congratulates 22 startups who have 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 startups and entrepreneurs in CDB’s 19 Borrowing Member Countries with regional facilitators and mentors who are experts in their respective fields.
After a selection process during Summer, 90 startups were selected for the September – December 2019 Cohort. 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 semifinals of the programme.
A key proponent of the programme is training the startups to complete virtual work, with a requirement to upload their digital submissions: pitch decks, prototypes, and presentation videos. These submissions were evaluated by a remote panel of regional and international judges from technical, business development and investor backgrounds.
22 of the 90 startups will compete in the Regional Finals to win prizes. The overall winners will receive CTEP seals of recognition and prizes at an awards ceremony in Barbados in December 2019.
Previous winners CTEP 2019 Cohort 1 have gone on to achieve further success:-
• Corey Zufelt, who leads the startup is I’m Local (Grenada), has been nominated by The Grenada Chamber of Industry & Commerce for the 2019 Excellence in Tourism Industry Award
• Shawn Melville, who leads the startup is 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, who leads the startup Global Tutoring Hub (Barbados), was selected by Design Terminal to be on their three-month Mentor’s Program in Budapest, Hungary.
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 from Caribbean entrepreneurs in this second phase of the CTEP, which confirms the significant benefits that 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 uniquely offers this solution in a digital space.”
Christopher Harper, CTEP Judge said: “As usual, the standard of the businesses and ideas presented were high. What I noticed this year was a higher number of businesses seeking to address more social issues, for example, those related to nutrition and education, while trying to
ensure that the wealth gap between socio-economic classes is closed.”
Troy Weekes, Programme Manager of CTEP, remarked: “We are extremely pleased with the overwhelming number of startups in the second Cohort. It is encouraging to note that overall feedback from the first Cohort was highly favourable, and entrepreneurs indicated that the
guidance they received from the facilitators and mentors was extremely valuable for propelling their business forward.”
He continued: “With the increasing reliance on technology in business applications and service delivery, it is essential that our regional entrepreneurs possess the required skills to compete globally. The many success stories of CTEP graduates prove that the programme is making a sterling contribution in preparing our entrepreneurs to meet this challenge.”