A delegation of five university start-up teams, representing both The University of the West Indies (UWI) and Northern Caribbean University, will participate in the International Business Model Competition (IBMC) in Utah, USA, later this week.
This will be the first time that this many teams from Jamaica will feature in the international competition, which takes place tomorrow and Friday at the Utah Valley Convention Center and the Provo Marriott Hotel and Conference Center.
“This is a tremendous achievement for the Jamaican programme. It endorses the work our universities are doing in building future business leaders. It is an endorsement of the quality of the judges at our competition and it sends a signal that the work we, the Development Bank of Jamaica through the Jamaica Venture Capital Programme (JVCP), are doing with our universities, and indeed, the development of robust entrepreneurial ecosystem is on the right path ,” stated Audrey Richards, project coordinator of the JVCP.
The teams participated in the National Business Model Competition (NBMC), which took place on March 22 and 23 at the Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston, where market research start-up Queritel emerged champion and became the first team from UWI to win the competition since its inception in 2014. As a result, Queritel was named Jamaica's official representative in the IBMC.
Teams from NCU had won the local competition for the four previous instalments.
Queritel is formerly known as Research Aid Plus, which placed third in the Vincent HoSang The University of the West Indies Venture Competition behind that competition's winner Eco-Structures and second-placed Skolastic Oasis — both of which will also compete in Utah.
“Originally the idea for Queritel was Research Aid Plus, which came up after realising that students on campus needed research work done and they needed help with this so they came to us. After working with this idea for a year and pitching it, we realised that it made more sense to apply to entrepreneurs who would be more willing to pay for this service. So we changed to Queritel and since then we have had over 120 customers and made over US$6,000 in revenue and it has been amazing. Winning this competition is another form of validation for us and we are so happy for it,” Kedonne Martin, vice-president of marketing and operations, Queritel, said after winning the NBMC in March.