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JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Young technology entrepreneurs participating in the Government’s Start-Up Jamaica (SUJ) initiative showcased their various innovations at a Demo Day held on Monday (November 17).
  • State Minister for Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Hon. Julian Robinson, in his address at the opening ceremony, said that through Demo Day, young entrepreneurs are being given the opportunity to demonstrate the applications (apps) and solutions they have been working on for weeks, months, and perhaps years.
  • Oasis500, is a Middle East-based accelerator company, which trains and funds technology start-ups. 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.

Young technology entrepreneurs participating in the Government’s Start-Up Jamaica (SUJ) initiative showcased their various innovations at a Demo Day held on Monday (November 17).

The event, held at SUJ’s headquarters, housed at the Jamaica National Building Society’s (JNBS) downtown Kingston offices, kicked off local activities for Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) from November 17 to 23.

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.

State Minister for Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Hon. Julian Robinson, in his address at the opening ceremony, said that through Demo Day, young entrepreneurs are being given the opportunity to demonstrate the applications (apps) and solutions they have been working on for weeks, months, and perhaps years.

“It is also an opportunity for (visitors) to understand the kind of talent that exists (and) to look at potential opportunities for investment. All these entrepreneurs need investment, but they also need mentorship, they also need support, they also need guidance and they also need critical minds to constructively critique what they have done,” he noted.

Mr. Robinson said the Government is committed to providing the support to ensure that the young entrepreneurs “move these good ideas to becoming solid businesses that can earn money”.

“That is our objective at the end of the day. We see this as a great opportunity for us as a country to earn foreign exchange, to grow ourselves out of the economic challenges that exist for you….we have seen over and over that the talent exists, it’s just providing the support to translate the talent into something tangible,” he said.

Project Manager for SUJ, Sandra Glasgow, told JIS News that the Demo Day exhibitors comprise teams of entrepreneurs, who had participated in a five-day business development boot camp held in September.

The boot camp was designed to provide participants with the necessary tools, concepts, and skills to enable them to create and manage successful companies.

“We have invited a wide range of people from the private sector, from the technology community, and specific contacts that the teams wanted to have here today to see their projects. We wanted to provide them opportunities to make their pitches in front of an audience, because it’s always good for them to practice their pitches,” she informed.

Ms. Glasgow said 36 teams participated in the boot camp, who since then, have been preparing their pitches for Oasis 500 “whom we are hoping will invest in many of these companies and they’ve gone through several rounds of pitching.”

Oasis500, is a Middle East-based accelerator company, which trains and funds  technology start-ups.  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 Oasis500 seed investment through a rigorous pitching process. Oasis500 plans to invest the equivalent of US$30,000 in exchange for a stake in the companies. The investment represents cash, support, guidance and mentorship.

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