In the recently held Bahamas edition of the competition, sister co-founders Yamel Marshall and Janay Pyfrom-Symonette presented their new mobile app that promises to provide a digital on-demand platform to connect consumers with a reliable network of service providers and provide them with instant estimates for desired services.
The sisters were struggling to find and contract service providers, such as electricians, and plumbers. After a few years of developing the idea, Pyfrom-Symonette, who has a strong background in web application development and technology systems for business start-ups, applied to the LINK-Caribbean 5-5-5 pitch competition to advance the business further.
“It's a data-intensive initiative, so we do require a research assistant that will provide support to our strategic partners and gather market intelligence needed to code dynamically into the web and mobile applications. We will be using the investment to support staff salaries to assist with this,” Pyfrom-Symonette said.
Five judges comprising local high-net-worth individuals and members of the entrepreneurship ecosystem judged the five companies who pitched. The judges were Raymond Jones, Donald Demeritte, Keva Cartwright, Sean Brennen, and Christopher McNair. They felt that the business idea presented by Findrpro was not only great for the market but also has the potential scalability.
“We received 27 applications to pitch from The Bahamas alone, which is a great indication of the entrepreneurship ecosystem apparent in this market,” said McNair, manager of competitiveness and export promotion at Caribbean Export.
To date, a total of 97 applications have been received across those markets that will be hosting pitch competitions. The final two pitch competitions to be held in Grenada and Saint Lucia are open to all businesses in the OECS and have been rescheduled to take place in April 2018, allowing more time for entrepreneurs to submit pitch decks and apply before March 16, 2018.
Caribbean Export and the World Bank Group under the Entrepreneurship Program for Innovation in the Caribbean (EPIC) initiated the pitch competition to raise greater awareness around the LINK-Caribbean programme and support the development of a vibrant angel investment ecosystem within the region.
The World Bank Group, together with the Caribbean Export Development Agency, launched LINK-Caribbean, funded by the government of Canada under the auspices of EPIC. The investment facilitation program aims to enable early-stage Caribbean entrepreneurs to raise capital from private investors, particularly business angel investors.