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OECS Announces Winners of Business Model Competition

Three entrepreneurs have emerged as the winners of the inaugural OECS-Republic Bank Business Model Competition – a strategic initiative of the OECS Sustainable Development Movement designed to strengthen entrepreneurship in the Caribbean through capacity building, access to investors and leveraging opportunities.

The much-anticipated final of the Business Model Competition was a Pitch Battle with Star of ABC’s Shark Tank & CEO of the Shark Group, Daymond John, featuring the top eight entrepreneurs.

Jody White of Slimdown360, Trinidad and Tobago, claimed the top spot taking home the first place prize of US$20,000; Trevaun Soloman of Project Jaguar: The Home of The Teacherpreneur, Antigua and Barbuda, took home the second place prize of US$10,000; and Alex Straun of Genesis Payment Solutions, St. Kitts and Nevis took home the third place prize of US$5,000.

Of the 30 Caribbean entrepreneurs that embarked on the eight-week journey of capacity building and networking via integration into the Business Model Competition’s virtual network of business development support, 19 entrepreneurs advanced to the semifinal phase of the competition and eight entrepreneurs were selected to participate in the final pitch competition with Daymond John.

Montserrat’s Linda Dias with her Bodio music networking app made it through to the semifinal round but was not selected for the finals.

The OECS-Republic Bank Business Model Competition sought to:

  • Strengthen the capacity of 30 high growth potential entrepreneurs in the Caribbean via integration into a Virtual Accelerator;
  • Facilitate the connection of high growth potential entrepreneurs to investors and mentors;
  • Facilitate business match-making; and
  • Connect entrepreneurs to an ecosystem of business development support.

Jody White from Trinidad and Tobago is the CEO of Slimdown360, a company investing in various types of root crop pasta, flours and ready to eat frozen meals.

Based in Trinidad, the company turns fresh sweet potatoes and cassava into gluten-free pasta, gluten-free flours and prepared meals. Satisfying a need for grain-free, gluten-free pasta – a category in which few products exist.

Root crops are generally inexpensive and Slimdown360 has found a way to create a scalable, value-added product, operating in a specialty, higher-value market, out of them.

Slimdown360 fulfills the needs of a large, untapped consumer segment while supporting regional agriculture. The company interacts with the entire value chain, from the farm to the final product.

Slimdown360‘s customers are largely overseas. The company’s products were recently selected as Amazon’s Choice in the Paleo category of the Amazon website.

Slimdown 360 Website

Trevaun Soloman from Antigua and Barbuda is the Co-Founder and CEO of Project Jaguar: Home of the Teacherpreneur, an online two-sided marketplace that enables educators to create, go-to-market, and teach guided online courses as teacherpreneurs.

Project Jaguar is a community and suite of services for teacherpreneurs around the Caribbean. It is designed for teachers to run an online course and grow it into an online teaching business. The service gives teachers the tools and training needed to progress towards entrepreneurship to stimulate the education industry.

It takes 1 minute to set-up the first course and is 100% free. Join the community, and create a team of teachers to teach groups of students, and grow your online teaching business. Access online courses on Android, iOS, Windows 10, or Mac.

Project Jaguar Website

Alex Straun from St. Kitts and Nevis is the CEO of Genesis Payment Systems Inc., a company that fosters community empowerment through Financial Technology (FinTech). The company seeks the security and inclusion of all law-abiding citizens into the financial system while enhancing efficiency and reducing costs.

A few years ago, Genesis Payment Systems Inc. noticed some unsettling trends: Cash-related robberies were on the rise, fees at financial institutions were spiraling upwards and small business innovation was stagnant. The management of Genesis Payment Systems Inc. decided to build a solution that could provide a secure, affordable way to store, transfer money and digitise business processes regardless of banking status. The result is JAD: the region’s first e-money solution combined with a commerce platform. In a matter of seconds, customers can send and receive cash, sell their products online, pay employees, track sales, register event guests, fundraise and more.

The JAD solution:

  1. Was the first (and remains the ONLY solution) to receive regulatory approval from the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (July 2017);
  2. Was officially launched in February 2018;
  3. Has over 7,000 users (August 2020);
  4. Has over 580 businesses (August 2020); and
  5. Has completed over $3.0 million in transactions (August 2020).

In June 2020, Genesis Payment Systems Inc. successfully licensed and integrated with the first Credit Union – Liberty Cooperative Credit Union in Anguilla. Members of this Credit Union can use their digital wallet as an extension of their Credit Union account, shop, transfer money to friends/family or receive payments from any other user including persons overseas; businesses have access to card payments via the wallet; and the Credit Union can receive remote loan payments and deposits saving thousands of cash management related costs.

The Genesis Payment Systems Inc. management team has over 70 years’ experience in banking, finance, payment system development, telecommunications, and application development.

Genesis Payment Systems Website