OECS Photo of Eastern Caribbean entrepreneurs at Draper University accelerator

Montserratian Attends Five-Week Accelerator at Draper University

Annesta Fergus of Montserrat was one of eight entrepreneurs from the Eastern Caribbean who completed a five-week accelerator Hero Program at Draper University Campus in San Mateo, California, from October 23 to November 25, 2023.

The opportunity was a result of her earlier participating in a two-week virtual accelerator by the OECS Commission.
Fergus told Discover the experience was “been really intense but incredibly useful. I met a lot of amazing people, including Mr. Draper several times. I networked quite a lot and hope to continue to have great connections with my cohort.”

The entrepreneur, who heads Phannestic Consulting/ Montserrat Creative Nexus is also in the early stages of developing a new travel app for the island. The business idea aims to establish a collaborative digital platform to transform Montserrat. Through the power of technology, this venture seeks to harness the expertise of both local and diaspora individuals and organizations to tackle challenges and enhance the island’s prospects.

According to an OECS release, this is the second cohort of OECS startups to participate in the programme.

The OECS Global Startup Hub comprises two components. The first is a two-week Virtual Accelerator Program in which 47 OECS entrepreneurs were given the opportunity to learn and network with hundreds of other entrepreneurs around the world in September 2023 while studying the Fundamentals of Entrepreneurship. The online program involved online lectures and included live group activities around global challenges with over 50 Silicon Valley mentors.

OECS Photo of Eastern Caribbean entrepreneurs at Draper University accelerator

The second component is the Draper University Hero Program which is a five-week, in-person accelerator training course which provides the opportunity for entrepreneurs to explore and learn how to develop businesses from Silicon Valley founders and experts. Eight of the most innovative entrepreneurs from the Virtual Accelerator Program moved on to the Hero Program in Silicon Valley. This training provided assistance to accelerate business models through networking and mentoring with global industry experts, mentors and investors committed to supporting the participants’ entrepreneurial journey. The program also provided access to the Draper University Ventures pre-seed fund which is dedicated to investing up to $100,000 in chosen alumni companies.

The Hero Program culminated with a demo day pitch event where over 30 entrepreneurs from around the world had the opportunity to pitch their business ideas to a panel of investors. The OECS Commission commended St. Lucian Stephen Felix, founder of Medial Health, on winning the overall competition. Medial Health provides digital solutions to challenges in the global healthcare industry.

The OECS Commission also organised a mentorship session with JetBlue Ventures in San Francisco which is a major sponsor of the OECS Global Startup Hub. The mentorship session allowed entrepreneurs to learn more about the JetBlue Ventures ecosystem and to receive guidance on their business models from experienced venture partners at JetBlue.

The OECS Commission also facilitated an opportunity for the entrepreneurs to meet Dr. Earl Nicholas Brathwaite who is an outstanding Grenadian technologist, entrepreneur, and the founding managing partner of Celestia Capital, a venture capital firm operating in Silicon Valley. This session allowed the OECS entrepreneurs to receive advice from a highly successful Caribbean entrepreneur who has built several billion-dollar technology companies in the diaspora. This was a significant opportunity for the entrepreneurs to learn about Dr. Brathwaite’s journey and ask profound questions to inspire their own entrepreneurial pursuits.

Source: https://pressroom.oecs.int/oecs-tech-startups-shine-in-silicon-valley