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Story Highlights

  • A total of 60 young entrepreneurs from across the country and the wider Caribbean, are participating in an intensive five-day business development boot camp under the Government’s ‘Start Up Jamaica’ (SUJ) initiative.
  • The boot camp, which ends on Friday, September 12, is designed to provide participants with the necessary tools, concepts, and skills to enable them to create and manage successful companies.
  • The training programme will educate, evaluate and, stress test ideas and ultimately, select entrepreneurs for investment.

A total of 60 young entrepreneurs from across the country and the wider Caribbean, are participating in an intensive five-day business development boot camp under the Government’s ‘Start Up Jamaica’ (SUJ) initiative.

The boot camp, which ends on Friday, September 12, is designed to provide participants with the necessary tools, concepts, and skills to enable them to create and manage successful companies.

The training programme will educate, evaluate and, stress test ideas and ultimately, select entrepreneurs for investment. In addition to training, the boot camp includes lectures by serial entrepreneurs, sector experts, and industry leaders in technology.

The sessions form part of the selection process for the SUJ Accelerator programme, which is slated to begin mid-October. The accelerator houses start-up companies and provides them with the key skills and technology, business, management, legal and accounting support that will prepare them to pitch to equity investors and receive investments to grow their businesses.

Speaking with JIS News at the official opening of the SUJ Accelerator, at the downtown Kingston offices of the Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS) on September 8, State Minister for Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Hon. Julian Robinson, informed that the participants were selected from 217 applications.

“They will go through their financials, their business model. Really, it is done to refine their ideas to ensure that their ideas are “saleable” on a global basis and to put them in a position where they can then compete for 10 spots, which will be available for the accelerator,” he said.

He pointed out that the 10 companies that are selected to be in the accelerator will be provided with equity investment by Oasis500, a Middle East-based accelerator company, which trains and funds startup technology companies. The company has decided to partner with the Government to invest in technology entrepreneurs, who are interested in going through the required process for selection.

Graduates of the boot camp can apply for the Oasis 500 seed investment through a rigorous pitching process.

“Oasis500 is going to invest the equivalent of US$30,000 and in exchange for that, they will take a stake in the companies. Part of it represents cash and other represents the support, guidance mentorship that they provide in the accelerator,” Mr. Robinson explained.

He noted that the acceleration process will be a 100-day exercise, “and at the end of it, we expect those companies to be in a position where they can attract other investments and they can grow and attract international investment.”

The State Minister said the intention is to run a cohort of 10 companies every six months, noting that once this first batch has completed the process, applications will be opened for the second batch in about January/February via the SUJ’s website: start-upjamaica.com.

Established to provide technical support to entrepreneurs and innovators in the area of technology, SUJ is a public/private partnership for economic growth and development.

It aims to help innovators and entrepreneurs to grow their business ideas into marketable products and services, thus contributing to economic growth, increasing employment and generating foreign exchange.

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