“If you missed Toni Fenton pitch last night, you missed a treat,” said Dr Samuel Joseph who was a judge at the i2L Pitch Finals on Thursday night.
Fenton, a 14-year-old student at the Montserrat Secondary School (MSS), won the junior category of Innovate to Lead (i2LPitch), created by Goldenmedia and sponsored by the Youth & Sports Development Programme. She wowed the audience and the judges with her idea for iBlender, a fruit smoothie venture which would use only biodegradable products and targeted at young people. She stayed cool under the pressure of the multiple questions posed to her by Joseph and the other judges who were Lorraine Lewis of Montserrat Shipping Services, Ruel Duke, a business teacher at MSS, and Angela Greenaway a consultant and instructor at the Montserrat Community College.
There were nine pitchers in the first installment of the competition, which began on Monday, November 19 with a boot camp. On the following two days, the pitchers practised their presentations during evening sessions at the public library, where they were evaluated by their mentors and peers. Richard Pummell of Workonnex, a human resource app which tests employee satisfaction, and Sandra Baptist of Antigua Barbuda Association of Small Business Owners (ABASBO) were the mentors.
“The entire i2L experience was amazing. The mentorship from Sandra and Richard really helped to refine my business concept,” said Linda Dias, who won the senior category with her music app idea called Gig-A-Bite. “The next step for Gig-A-Bite is to finalize the market research and commence the development process.“
Dias will be mentored by Pummell for the next six months while Baptist will mentor Fenton. Nerissa Golden of Goldenmedia said the winners as well as the other participants will continue to be supported through the Youth and Sports Development Programme to improve their idea as they prepare to go to market. It is also hoped the young entrepreneurs will be able to apply for business support grants offered by the Government of Montserrat.
Prizes for the winners included a $2000 cash prize for Fenton and $5000 for Dias along with free legal services through Buffonge Associates and Markham and Associates, marketing and graphics packages from Aeon Studios and Hypnotik Graphics, services from KAC Accounting, wealth management counselling from the Bank of Montserrat, sector data from the Statistics Department and economic advices from the island’s Chief Economist.
“The organization and execution of i2L was impressive,” said Joseph, who is also a mentor to young entrepreneurs and a member of the Legislative Assembly. There were “some amazing ideas and presentations. Congratulations to Nerissa Golden and the finalists.”
The other finalists were Keturah Daley and team with Finesse Event Planners in the junior category, Chaquille Sam with 3D-Con, Carandre Fernandez of VIP Media, Ja-Moi Phillip of Motion Graphics, Dexter Small with a work for hire app called Yado, Delon Searles with UnDone Wellness and Takim Aymer with Battery Solutions in the adult category.
Some of the ideas will also be featured during Montserrat’s National ICT Week exhibit on Friday, November 30 at the Montserrat Cultural Centre.
More photos from the #i2LPitch available on the Discover Montserrat Facebook page.