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Three University of the West Indies (UWI) student teams Queritel, ECO-Structures and Skolastik Oasis Caribbean have secured their places to represent Jamaica at the International Business Model Competition (IBMC) - the first and largest lean startup competition in the world - which will take place from May 10-11 at the Utah Valley Convention Center & Provo Marriott Hotel in Provo, UT, in the United States.

The teams’ journeys began in September 2017 through participation in the 16th staging of the Vincent HoSang UWI Venture Competition organized by Mona School of Business and Management (MSBM); which over the years has aided students in moving their business ideas to the stage of commercialization. Their journeys continued with the teams competing at the national level in the National Business Model Competition (NBMC) against 12 other student-entrepreneur teams representing the four local universities; UWI, the University of Technology (UTECH), Northern Caribbean University (NCU) and Edna Manley College for the Visual and Performing Arts (EMCVPA). 

This year’s NBMC proved to be a historic one with UWI not only winning the competition for the very first time and breaking NCU’s four-year winning streak. but also, taking  second place.

The winning team, Queritel, represented by Shani Bennett (Law student) and Kevonne Martin, (Business Management student) created a digital research management system with the ability to link scholars to reliable researchers. In addition to winning  a cash prize,  they have earned themselves an automatic placement in the International Business Model Competition (IBMC). 

The IBMC is a unique student start-up competition focused on the inputs, rather than the outputs, of the entrepreneurial process. The competition requires active identification and validation of crucial business model hypotheses rather than the writing of a static business plan. The IBMC hosts not only the winners from participating countries but has an “At-Large Window” for independent applications, for which only 12 places worldwide are available.

First and second place teams from the Vincent HoSang UWI Venture Competition - ECO-Structures  created a fully automated low cost environmentally friendly construction solutions and manufacturing plant and Skolastik Oasis Caribbean created a fully digitized scholarship database management system respectively, both  applied through the “At-Large Window”, and earned two (2) of the 12 available spaces. This will be a first for UWI and for Jamaica who will have five teams present at the competition, three from UWI and the other two teams out of NCU.

The teams will compete against scores of universities and business schools across the globe for the grand cash prize of US$30,000 and the prestigious IBMC trophy. 

About The UWI

Since its inception in 1948, The University of the West Indies (UWI) has evolved from a fledgling college in Jamaica with 33 students to a full-fledged, regional University with over 50,000 students. Today, UWI is the largest, most longstanding higher education provider in the Commonwealth Caribbean, with four campuses in Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Open Campus. The UWI has faculty and students from more than 40 countries and collaborative links with 160 universities globally; it offers undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Food & Agriculture, Engineering, Humanities & Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Science and Technology and Social Sciences. UWI’s seven priority focal areas are linked closely to the priorities identified by CARICOM and take into account such over-arching areas of concern to the region as environmental issues, health and wellness, gender equity and the critical importance of innovation. Visit www.uwi.edu

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