The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Commission and Republic Bank Group successfully launched the Sustainable Development Movement (SDM) Business Model Competition on Friday, July 10th 2020.
The virtual launch featured the grand reveal of the top 30 entrepreneurs selected to participate in the inaugural SDM Business Model Competition. The chosen entrepreneurs were selected from a cohort of 170 applicants from across the region.
Dr. Didacus Jules, Director General of the OECS, highlighted the value of the Business Model Competition, as an integral part of the Sustainable Development Movement, and stressed the importance of ideas and innovative thinking as Caribbean entrepreneurs position themselves as major players in the development of the region.
“Ideas matter, because an idea is a seed that can grow change in our world. The genius of an idea ultimately lies, not in its conception but in its execution and in the legacy that it leaves. We anticipate that the Sustainable Development Movement will create that legacy.”
“The Sustainable Development Movement 2020 is a different answer to an old complex challenge. Resources are scarce but the problem is not money – but imagination. If you deeply desire and desperately need something you will find the road to your aspiration. A key answer to the challenge, therefore, is the mind shift. Changing our perspective from the subordination of our limitations to the appreciation of our possibilities.”
Michelle Palmer Keizer, Managing Director of Republic Bank (EC) Limited, welcomed the opportunity to support the Business Model Competition initiative which, she noted, is in keeping with the bank’s well established focus on small businesses.
“[Investment in Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises] was a priority for us when times were better and it is more so now in these times of challenge and opportunity.”
“We are extremely excited to once again commit our resources to such a worthwhile initiative. We are eager to help shape the future,” Palmer-Keizer said.
A highlight of the two-hour launch was the keynote address by Paul Ahlstrom, Managing Director and Co-founder of Alta Ventures and Alta Growth Capital.
Ahlstrom provided real life experiences and advice from his over 30 year career as a venture-backed entrepreneur and as an investor. He implored participants to “create a compelling story” and “fall in love with the problem, not [the] product.”
“If you fall in love with the problem, that creates a compass for you to go create a great product. If you fall in love with [the] product, you are blinded to feedback and you can’t see the world clearly."
Throughout his career, Paul Ahlstrom has raised over $1 billion and directly invested over $500 million in more than one hundred and twenty-five startup companies.
The OECS Republic Bank Business Model Competition forms part of the OECS Commission’s Sustainable Development Movement (SDM) Conference – a two-day event expected to attract over 3000 delegates from across the Caribbean Region and internationally to meet and exchange thoughts, best practices, untold stories and strategies concerning sustainable growth and development on September 23-24, 2020 in Saint Lucia.
The 30 high-growth potential Caribbean entrepreneurs will embark on a journey of capacity building and networking via integration into a virtual network of business development support.
Selected entrepreneurs will also compete for sectional prizes of up to US$20,000.00 and have the opportunity to pitch their business ideas to a panel of investors led by Mr. Daymond John, Star of ABC’s Shark Tank, and President of the Shark Group.
Meet the Business Model Competition Entrepreneurs: