Fifteen teams from four local universities will vie for over $4 million in cash and prizes at the sixth staging of the National Business Model Competition (NBMC), which will be held from March 21 to 22 at the Knutsford Court Hotel, New Kingston.
The announcement was made at a press launch hosted by the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) and the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) on Wednesday.
Milverton Reynolds, managing director of the DBJ, said the NBMC falls under the entrepreneurial development component of a Technical Cooperation Agreement the DBJ signed with the Inter-American Development Bank that is aimed at creating a sustained and robust entrepreneurial and early stage ecosystem for Jamaica.
“The partnership that we have developed with our universities, the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts, Northern Caribbean University, the University of Technology, and The University of the West Indies for the execution of the competition is deliberate and is set against the background that university campuses are traditionally where creativity and critical thinking are honed and maximised,” Reynolds said.
ENCOURAGING CREATIVE THINKING
The NBMC is an initiative that encourages and promotes entrepreneurship. It creates a platform for experiential learning and the honing of entrepreneurial skills and develops a pipeline of potential entrepreneurs.
The NBMC is supported technically and financially by the DBJ and the PSOJ, and the 2019 competition has received strong financial backing from the IDB Multilateral Investment Fund, PanJam Investment, the NCB Foundation, GK Capital Management, Sagicor Bank, Scotiabank, Burger King, the Musson Foundation, the PetroCaribe Development Fund, and Blueprint Consulting.
“Once again, our student entrepreneurs have come forward and have presented some well-thought-out and innovative business ideas. The teams entering this year’s competition are diverse and cover areas such as energies, marine biology and technologies, waste management, security, and agri-business,” said Audrey Richards, project coordinator, Jamaica Venture Capital Programme.
“We are looking forward to a highly competitive event, and we must pay tribute to the coordinators at the various universities who have given their service in preparing the students for competition,” Richards added.
Annually, the national winner is awarded a cash prize of $2 million and an all-expenses-paid trip to represent Jamaica at the International Business Model Competition, held in the United States of America during May.