In an effort to increase exposure of Caribbean startups to global investors and resources, Caribbean Startups announced the launch of the first digital accelerator for the region. The accelerator program begins with a full startup development boot camp covering ideation, product development, marketing, customer acquisition and funding. The boot camp is followed by workshop keynotes from Lean Launchpad, Forbes list entrepreneurs, and key investors. The program concludes with a demo day where the top ten companies pitch in front of judges from across the region for top prizes.“The future is digital, so startup ecosystems in emerging markets need to take advantage of that with programs like this one” says Christine Souffrant Ntim, “we launched digital accelerators for entrepreneurs of the Caribbean and the diaspora to close the resource gap and diversify global startup success stories”.The pilot accelerator program on July 11-13, 2016 accepted 100 startups.Here is a review of the program.
Over 55% of the companies were founded within the past two years. Industries represented included, travel, agriculture, e-commerce, education, social apps, and communications.Over 18 countries participated in the program with the top 3 countries being Trinidad, Jamaica and Haiti. When we surveyed applicants to gage their most pressing needs- Funding and customer acquisition were their top priorities.
7:15-8:00 Fundraising 101- How to raise capital via crowdfunding, crowd equity, angel & VC investment and unconventional methods
8-8:30 Marketing 101- pitching, social media campaigns, press, and PR, event management
8:30-9:00 Guest Workshop- Psychology of Entrepreneurship by Einstien Ntim
Wednesday: 6pm-9pm EST
6:00-7:00pm Open online office hours- Q/A
7:00-7:30 How to avoid the top 99 mistakes of entrepreneurs.
7:30-9pm Online Demo day-Pitch to our investment/partner network (details TBA). We will host a virtual pitch off event for selected startups to connect with top investors, partners, and mentors.
We had 2 guest workshop speakers and 3 influential judges. The intense nature of the business boot camp is to provide tactics, strategies and top learnings around building a company while leveraging free resources. From Y-Combinator’s free 10 week online program to raising millions with database searches to coding an MVP – the program covered many areas. You can view videos and more details on the Facebook Page.
It was a tough competition but the top three winners are Aquaflow a.k.a PumpNSpray (Jamaica), PlantBasedForYou (Guyana) and Kwabosal (Haiti).
First Place: www.aquaflowjm.com (Jamaica) water efficiency for the future
Second Place: Instagram.com/plantbasedforyou (Guyana) changing how we eat, one produce at a time
Third Place: www.kwabosal.ht (Haiti) Destined to become the amazon of Haiti-#1 e-commerce for the country
The 3 teams will receive up to $3k in prizes!
VIP tickets to ATECH– the biggest tech conference in the Caribbean. The winning team will receive (2 tickets, value of $695 each) VIP guest services (e.g., VIP service at the airport, free transportation to and from the airport and conference venues), including access to one-on-one investor feedback sessions.
$1,560 worth of credits with SendGrid ($129.95 / month for 12 months)
Consultant review package with SeedIM Investments (2 hours) valued at $350-Review your business model; Review Marketing Strategy; Provide recommendation
We had up to 50 entrepreneurs on the call for demo day cheering on their fellow comrades and submitted votes on the top pitch. The results are below: