The UWI entrepreneurs win one million dollars prizes through Vincent Hosang UWI Venture Competition

by March 9, 2022

Left to Right: Douglas Lindo (Chairman, Vincent HoSang Entrepreneurship Programme), Dr. David McBean, (Executive Director, Mona School of Business and Management), Dr. Leighton Ellis, 3rd Place Winner, Trae-Ana Wilkins, 1st Place Winner, Joshua Anderson, 2nd Place Winner, Christopher Brown, (General Manager, Project Management Unit, Development Bank of Jamaica) and Tamra Thomas, (Programme Coordinator, Vincent HoSang Entrepreneurship Programme).

The 2021-2022 staging of the UWI Venture Competition (UWIVC) attracted over 80 entrants with eight finalists emerging who went on to pitch their business ideas at the finals which took place on Friday January 28, 2022. The exciting event had some of UWI’s finest students and faculty vying for the top prize and the anticipation was ‘nail biting’ waiting to hear the results. After much deliberation by our independent and highly respected panel of judges, the winners were announced and prizes were handed out.

Our finalists who represented a cross-section of faculties and some of the brightest minds at the University of the West Indies (Mona), took home more than JMD$1 Million in cash and prizes which the winners will be able to invest in their businesses to help them scale and grow. For the past four months, these students have honed their business ideas by working with their mentors who are all expert business executives, to develop and refine their business ideas as they seek to provide solutions to improve people’s everyday life.

First place winner ZRise, an undergraduate team from CARIMAC developed an online marketplace platform that connects businesses and brands with Caribbean creative influencers and content creators. Second place winner Fresh Fuel, is also an undergraduate team from the School of Engineering. Fresh Fuel is a start-up looking into the development of modular anaerobic digestion technology for implementation in Jamaica and across the wider Caribbean. Third place winner Team Ouro Preto represented by Dr. Leighton Ellis a UWI Faculty member also from the School of Engineering is a business that converts organic waste to composting material for gardening and farming purposes.

Other prizes included the JMMB Joan Duncan Foundation Award for Corporate Social Responsibility won by Team T&S Delivery and the Baymac Award for Digital Transformation and Implementation which was won by Team Swaze.

A major highlight of the finals was the announcement by Mrs. Sabrina HoSang Jordan, CEO, Caribbean Food Delights in her message to the students, that the HoSang family will be contributing US$20,000 in additional support to the Vincent HoSang Entrepreneurship Programme at the Mona School of Business and Management (MSBM). The HoSangs have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to supporting student entrepreneurs and as the programme celebrates its 20th Anniversary this year, this new donation only confirms their investment in the growth and development of Jamaica and its youth.

In reiterating the commitment of the MSBM to student entrepreneurship, Dr. David McBean, Executive Director of the MSBM in his remarks stated; “We remain dedicated to ensuring that the UWIVC moves business ideas from mere concepts up the value chain to commercially viable entities that are market ready as we work towards playing a more integral role in the strengthening of the local entrepreneurial ecosystem”.

This was supported by JMMB Joan Duncan Foundation Chairman Mrs. Patricia Duncan Sutherland who in her remarks stated, “The work of this competition doesn’t just result in winners of the competition, but results in businesses, if not the business that was thought of in the competition, the people who have the thinking to create businesses in our country and we know, what Jamaica needs now is growth, which we know, will come from small and medium enterprises and so we must encourage entrepreneurship in our country”. On behalf of our other Partners, Mr. Nari Williams-Singh, Director General of the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority our Platinum Sponsor in his remarks stated “The finals represents the crescendo of efforts to enrich, diversify and expand Jamaica’s economic landscape through the innovation and talent of our youth.

Other major partners include; the Vincent HoSang Family Foundation, Caribbean Food Delights (One of the world’s largest frozen food manufacturers supplying Jamaican style patties to retail giants Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club, BJs, Harris Teeter as well as commissaries across the globe) Guardian Life, the Development Bank of Jamaica, Baymac and Mona Entrepreneurial and Commercialization Centre.

Congratulations to all winners of the Vincent HoSang UWI Venture Competition ! We salute all the teams for their high level of dedication, passion, and hard work throughout the competition! ”

It is important now more than ever, for us to encourage an entrepreneurial mind-set and support our local entrepreneurs especially in this uncertain time of the Covid-19 pandemic.