Caribbean Returning Nationals Foundation partnered with 1776, a US-based incubator and seed fund, to bring the Challenge Cup to the Caribbean Region putting the region on the map as one of 50 local events happening around the world as part of a global competition. This was an evening of brief presentations from startups in regulated industries (food, education, energy, food, health, money, etc.), and questions and answers from a panel of judges.
On Friday, January 15, 2016, the Challenge Cup-Caribbean was held at MovieTowne Banquet and Conference Centre in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. The event objective was to provide informative programming, access to potential partners and investors, and networking opportunities for all attendees.
There were 20 startups presenting and as part of the Challenge, three winning startups receive a prize package consisting of:
- Guaranteed admission and free travel (hotel & airfare) from the Caribbean to the Regional Competition in New York City in March 2016;
- A cash prize to help cover administrative and marketing expenses of preparing to present a professional business plan to an audience of international investors and others;
- Access to a network of mentors, funders, and customers both in the Caribbean and abroad;
- The possibility to advance to the Global Finals in Washington, DC in June 2016 to compete for $175,000 (USD) in cash and up to $1 million (USD) in investments.
The winning startups for the 2016 Challenge Cup-Caribbean are:
Caribbean Transit Solutions of Barbados – Caribbean Transit Solutions is building an ecosystem around transportation solutions. Our goal is to provide real time information on taxis and other Public Service Vehicles and targeted advertising to people that use our platforms. We have 3 products and these are: BeepCab (BeepCab.com) allows users to book taxis from your phone; BeepBus (BeepBus.com) allows users to access on-demand bus route information; and EasyTrak (EasyTrak.co) provides Fleet Management & GPS Tracking services.
Conflict Women of Trinidad and Tobago – Conflict Women, Ltd. financially empowers survivors of domestic and sexual violence by facilitating market access for their jewelry and art in exchange for a monthly income and free training through our award-winning “Butterfly Project.” We also provide advice to stakeholders in corporate social responsibility, social entrepreneurship, grant proposal writing and human rights and believe that we must be the change we wish to see in Trinidad and Tobago and the world.
TapTag of Trinidad and Tobago – TapTag lets you leave photos of the experiences you had where they occurred for future visitors to find. Share your travels by simply snapping a photo and leaving it right where you took it. The photo remains at the place it was posted and future visitors can find it and learn what you did there.
List of competing startups:
Photographs courtesy of Wavemaker Photography from St. Lucia
“I am very proud to see the innovative startups that participated in the first annual Challenge Cup-Caribbean. Today talent met opportunity.”
Arlene Graham, President and Founder of Caribbean Returning Nationals Foundation
“Congratulations to Caribbean Returning Nationals Foundation for successfully executing the Challenge Cup-Caribbean. This is a great milestone for your organization and an invaluable boost to entrepreneurs in the Caribbean and beyond. Kudos to the innovative minds behind all these great initiatives. Keep creating and promoting critical, game-changing programs like this one. I am so PROUD of YOU ALL.”
Kulya Nzogu, KNZ Enterprises
“So often sentiments are echoed about a Caribbean whose future is at risk because of its lost youth. Attending the Caribbean Returning Nationals Foundation’s Challenge Cup-Caribbean event was an impressive contradiction of those opinions. Both the quantity and quality of the pitches were hopeful reassurance to me that our region is in fact well-endowed with innovation, creativity and entrepreneurial spirit to compete on a global stage, and secure a bright Caribbean future.”
Rhonda Jaipaul-O’Garro: Fulbright Scholar/Hubert H. Humphrey Fellow 2013-2014 and Manager, Marketing & Communications at the University of the West Indies.
“Caribbean Returning Nationals Foundation has been making positive strides in the development of entrepreneurship in the Caribbean. I was particularity impressed with its successful hosting of the 1776 Challenge Cup-Caribbean.
Inshan Meahjohn, Assistant Vice President Entrepreneurship & Technology Commercialization at the University of Trinidad and Tobago
“Conflict Women had a fantastic experience at the 1776 Challenge Cup Caribbean. The preparatory session and information from judges were priceless and enabled us to reexamine and strengthen critical aspects of our business model. We are very excited to be one of the top three startups that received the nod to attend the Regional Challenge Cup in NYC and are grateful to the Caribbean Returning Nationals Foundation for organizing and sponsoring this fantastic initiative. As a social business that financially empowers survivors of domestic and sexual violence, the opportunity to pitch in NYC and to be mentored by leading experts is exciting and invaluable.”
“I was able to connect with some potential investors and also some really good friends so overall it was a great trip for me & CTS!”
Khalil Bryan, CEO Caribbean Transit Solutions.
“Great to see CRNF recognizing companies using network and affiliate marketing business model. Giant step forward.”
Caribbean & USA Offices
CRNF Headquarters Address: 133 Cayenne Drive, La Plata, Valencia, Trinidad & Tobago - CRNF Diaspora Outreach Office: 9103 Woodmore Centre Drive, Suite 304 Lanham, Maryland USA 20706