Five major local financial institutions have signed on to promote entrepreneurship among youth alongside the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ), through its Jamaica Venture Capital Programme, the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica and the Inter-American Development Bank for the fourth annual National Business Model Competition (NBMC).
Pan Jam Investment, NCB Foundation, Scotiabank Jamaica, JN Bank and GK Capital Management have come on board for the competition’s fourth annual staging, which will see 14 student-entrepreneur teams at the tertiary level compete for national honours and to represent Jamaica at the upcoming International Business Model Competition (IBMC) in famed tech start-up home Silicon Valley, California.
Belinda Williams, NCB’s Manager of Group Corporate Communications Marketing & Communications Unit, said, “It’s about finding solutions for some very hard and simple problems that Jamaica has and it means that our future will be brighter because our universities and our students are engaged in the right way. NCB is proud to be partnering again, and we look forward to seeing how these can auger for us in terms of the SMEs that we can be banking.”
The finals of the NBMC, to be held on Friday, March 24 at The Knutsford Court Hotel in Kingston, will grant J$4m in cash prizes and an all-expense paid trip for the winner to make national representation. Judges from the private sector will select the winner from one of four universities – Northern Caribbean University, University of Technology Jamaica, University of the West Indies, and Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts.
Speaking at a Sponsor's Signing Ceremony at the DBJ on Thursday, March 16, Avril Leonce, Scotiabank’s Director of SME Partnerships and Development, said, “We need to incorporate [entrepreneurship] more into the curriculum and teach people how to become entrepreneurs. We need to create it as a job option outside of just wanting to be a lawyer or a doctor. So, we’re very passionate about supporting this initiative.”
Also joining the cause this year is the Seprod and Musson Foundations, whose mission is to promote and encourage the advancement of education among poor and inner-city children, and, in turn, all Jamaicans.
Milverton Reynolds, DBJ’s managing director, said, “This initiative is geared at reducing the failure rate of local start-up businesses among young entrepreneurs by promoting a departure from the static business plan and focusing on the usage of a business model canvas to validate and test their business concept. The NBMC will also facilitate access to mentors, coaches and angel investing.” The DBJ's mandate of - facilitating economic growth and development - is committed to the sustainability of this competition. We are convinced that this partnership that we have forged with these six corporate entities is excellent, and we would like to urge other entities to join us. We need you."
This year’s staging of the IBMC will be held on May 11 and 12 at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California. Teams from scores of universities and business schools across the globe will compete for the grand cash prize of US$30,000 and the prestigious IBMC trophy.
Last year’s NBMC winner Guardana Inc, an all-female team from NCU, placed sixth at the international competition at the Microsoft Ventures campus in Washington, DC. In 2015, local team JarGro Enterprise reached the semi-finals, and in 2014 Herboo Enterprise placed eighth.