Two UWI alumnae are among a group of all-female winners of a Caribbean tech entrepreneurship competition. Dispelling notions of male domination in the field, five female mobile app developers took all the top prizes at the recently concluded PitchIT Caribbean Challenge in T&T.
The winners include: Danielle Tait of The Interview JM from Jamaica, Kelly-Ann Bethel of SKED and Ayana St Louis of D Carnival Scene, who are both from T&T, Nerissa Greenway representing IndeTours from Montserrat and Monique Powell of QuickPlate from Jamaica. Powell is an alumna of The UWI Mona campus and Bethel, an alumna of both The UWI St Augustine and Cave Hill campuses.
The winning entries were selected after tworigorousdays of pitching to two panels of judges and an audience of regional and global investors. Each received US$5000 in seed funding to develop their businesses. They have also been awarded spots in PitchIT Caribbean business accelerators across the region.
PitchIT Caribbean is a programme aimed at enhancing the mobile app development ecosystem across Caricom. It is designed to accelerate mobile app entrepreneurs through the start-up life cycle, which runs from ideation to pitch, from pitch to market and from market to maturity.
The programme is the central operation of the Caribbean Mobile Innovation Project (CMIP), which is part of the Entrepreneurship Programme for Innovation in the Caribbean (EPIC), an initiative funded by the Government of Canada and executed by infoDev/World Bank Group, through a three-party Caribbean consortium, led by UWI Consulting Inc, working along with The UWI's Mona School of Business and Management, and Mona Business Support Services.
In announcing the winners, chief judge Rodney Browne from St Kitts and Nevis' eCaribbean Ltd, said the five were the most impressive of the ten finalists. Concurring with Brown, Canadian High Commissioner to T&T Carla Hogen Rufelds said she was "impressed by the success of the project, which only serves to enrich the longstanding relationship between Canada and the Caribbean region."
She was also pleased by the camaraderie displayed between the contestants and how well they supported each other throughout the challenge.
A total of 25 tech entrepreneurs from ten countries across the Caribbean–up from last year's seven–participated in the competition, the aim of which is to identify and enhance the region's top mobile app development talent.