Digital entrepreneurship takes centre stage at Vincent HoSang UWI Enterprise Competitors | Information


The eight teams of aspiring student entrepreneurs that emerged from the 22 teams participating in the 2020 Vincent HoSang UWI Venture Contest (UWIVC) showed an appropriate response to the “new normal” business environment by providing digital solutions to current problems and gaps in the branch showed market.

First place went to Kristen Gyles of Factions News, a mobile application that gathers news data from ordinary citizens across the country to broadcast on multiple platforms, and delivers authentic, real-time news to Jamaicans. Runner-up Nkrumah Fong from CERES Laboratories, a unique research company focused on new technologies known as vehicle exhaust absorbers, wants to use this technology to protect the natural environment. Third prize went to the duo of Stuart Payne and Cereta McDougall for Epic Escape Room. This is a digitally enhanced company that offers a 60 minute real-world adventure game with virtual features that are mentally stimulating and offer uniquely designed concepts and puzzles for its users. The top three finalists walked away with almost J $ 800,000 in prize money.

Further evidence of the digital entrepreneurship was the Mother Theresa Driving Academy, a company jointly owned by Leneka Rhoden and operated by Leneka Rhoden. It offers a digital approach to all driver training requirements, including applying for a driver’s license, acquiring training materials and preparing for a driving test for a Jamaican driver’s license. Rhoden, a second contestant, received two notable awards for her company: the JMMB Joan Duncan Award for Corporate Social Responsibility and the Digital Transformation Award, presented by sponsor Baymac. The Mother Theresa Driving Academy received J $ 250,000 in prize money.

The top teams were shortlisted after their presentations by Judges Wayne Sutherland, Director of the JMMB Group. Professor Jennifer Bailey, Assistant Professor at Babson College; Wayne Beecher, founder and CEO of Alt ^ Catalys; and Douglas Lindo, chairman of the Vincent HoSang Entrepreneurship Program Board.


In addition to the prize money given to the top teams, these winners will take part in a trip to New York where all costs are paid for. Courtesy of the competition benefactor Vincent HoSang, they are given a chance to view the Caribbean food Enjoy facilities. While in New York, winners will also be exposed to business and cultural experiences and will meet and learn from several successful Jamaican entrepreneurs. However, this year’s trip has been postponed to 2022 due to the current travel restrictions for COVID-19.

During the awards ceremony recently broadcast on YouTube, Dr. Indianna Minto-Coy, Academic Director for Masters of Science Programs and Co-Head of MIBES (Marketing, International Business, Entrepreneurship, and Strategy) at the University of the West Indies, Mona, Dr. Commenting on behalf of the Executive Director of the Mona School of Business and Management (MSBM), David McBean encouraged the finalists to continue their development as they become Jamaican high-growth entrepreneurs with the support of their partners and benefactors.

Ava-Marie Ingram, Corporate Communications Manager for the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority, said in her sponsor’s remarks: “This competition, along with its many successes, continues to create a culture of resilience and innovation that we need now more than ever.” A similar feeling was also endorsed by the competition’s multi-year sponsor, the JMMB Joan Duncan Foundation. Patricia Duncan-Sutherland, Chair of the Foundation, also underlined the value of the UWIVC in helping develop the entrepreneurship ecosystem, an approach that ties the foundation’s commitment to Supporting young people’s entrepreneurship.

This year’s competition partners and sponsors were: Vincent HoSang Family Foundation and Caribbean Food Delights, Civil Aviation Authority of Jamaica, JMMB Joan Duncan Foundation, Development Bank of Jamaica, Jamaica Venture Capital, Regus Caribbean, Baymac and Mona Entrepreneurship and Commercialization Center.

First held in 2002, the competition is aimed at harnessing the talents and skills of students within the UWI community and making it easier for their ideas to develop into full-fledged businesses.