The Caribbean Investment Forum, a prestigious annual event dedicated to fostering economic growth and innovation, witnessed a spectacular showcase of entrepreneurial prowess at the ‘Survival of the Pitchest’ competition, held on October 24, 2023. This event was a highlight of the forum, offering a platform for startups from the Caribbean and beyond to pitch their ground breaking ideas and compete for prestigious prizes.
Caribbean Export Development Agency, the driving force behind the Caribbean Investment Forum, is delighted to announce that the competition received a staggering 155 entries from 18different countries. The remarkable turnout demonstrates the increasing enthusiasm and potential of startups in the Caribbean and the wider region.
Out of the talented pool of applicants, seven companies were selected to present their innovative ideas and business models on the grand stage. These budding entrepreneurs seized the opportunity to showcase their creativity, dedication, and vision, making it a night to remember.
The competition would not have been possible without the generous support of its sponsors, which included Draper Start Up House Caribbean, Access Accelerator Small Business Development Center – The Bahamas, Invest Turks and Caicos Islands, Mr. Zwede Hewitt, Virgin Atlantic, and Caribbean Airlines. These organizations played a pivotal role in making the event a resounding success, demonstrating their commitment to nurturing entrepreneurship and innovation.
“The SBDC’s partnership with Caribbean Export has produced many successful initiatives and programs, dating as far back as 2019. We are delighted to have partnered with Caribbean Export for the 2023 Caribbean Investment Forum, and our sponsorship commitment is a testament to such a fruitful collaborative partnership,” shared Samantha Rolle, Executive Director at SBDC.
“What we saw during the ‘Survival of the Pitchest’ competition was merely a snapshot of the fostering of Micro, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (MSMEs) that support regional transformation to a bold new Caribbean.
We are grateful to our partners at Caribbean Export, Draper Start Up House, and Invest TCI for executing a successful event and wish to congratulate all seven 7 finalists, especially the top 3 finishers from Rifbid, Limeade Bahamas & The Farmhouse Bistro.
It is my hope that these business owners continue to make a positive impact on the development and growth of MSMEs throughout the Caribbean,” added Samantha Rolle.
The ‘Survival of the Pitchest’ competition featured an array of prizes, including a top cash prize of $10,000USD, along with non-cash prizes from Virgin Atlantic and Caribbean Airlines. These valuable incentives added an extra layer of excitement to the event, motivating participants to deliver their best pitches.
The results of the competition areas follows:
Keeghan Patrick – Rifbid – Saint Lucia
Rifbid is an AI-powered procurement platform that connects governments and suppliers, streamlining the procurement process and facilitating shorter pay cycles. Keeghan Patrick’s visionary approach earned him the coveted first-place position.
Joshua Miller – Limeade Bahamas -The Bahamas
Joshua Miller’s journey began with a father teaching his son to sell limeade for profit, eventually leading to Limeade Bahamas becoming a successful wholesale business serving over 100 stores. Their diverse product line, including alcoholic and non-alcoholic options, has made a significant impact.
Romero Dorsette – The FarmHouse Bistro – The Bahamas
The FarmHouse Bistro, under Romero Dorsette’s leadership, combines the charm of a farmhouse with a contemporary dining experience. Their commitment to the farm-to-table movement, sustainability, and culinary craftsmanship has earned them a well-deserved place in the top three.
Natasha Walcott, Senior Advisor for Competitiveness and Export Promotion at Caribbean Export, expressed her enthusiasm for the burgeoning startup ecosystem in the Caribbean, saying, “Caribbean Export is pleased to play its part in the burgeoning start-up ecosystem in the Caribbean. We work with MSMEs throughout the region, and we recognize the challenges that they face in establishing their businesses and expanding.”
Walcott went on to extend heartfelt congratulations to all the finalists and winners and recognized the invaluable support of the event’s sponsors. She stated, “Caribbean Export couldn’t have done this without the unwavering support of sponsors including the Small Business Development Centre Bahamas, Invest Turks and Caicos Islands, Mr. Zwede Hewitt, Virgin Atlantic, and Caribbean Airlines.”
The ‘Survival of the Pitchest’ competition at the Caribbean Investment Forum underscores the region’s commitment to innovation, entrepreneurship, and economic growth. As startup sand innovative ideas continue to flourish, the Caribbean Investment Forum remains a beacon of opportunity and success.
For more information, please visit the Caribbean Investment Forum’s official website athttps://www.