Jamaican Universities Take Home the Gold
PROVO, Utah – Jun 05, 2018 – Usain Bolt, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, and the 1988 Olympic bobsled team aren’t the only Jamaicans to gain international fame.
Two teams of student entrepreneurs from Jamaican universities won first and second place at the 2018 International Business Model Competition (IBMC), hosted by the Rollins Center for Entrepreneurship & Technology. But instead of gold medals, teams competed for international recognition and prize money to help fund their startup companies.
BEASC Technologies, made up of students from Northern Caribbean University in Mandeville, Jamaica, took home first place and $30,000. The company aims to solve agricultural challenges in developing countries. The team’s first project helps local farmers manage beet armyworm infestations through the use of technology.
“I’ve been asked a lot how it felt to win the competition, and I still can’t explain the feeling, but I would say it’s sobering,” says Lancelot Riley, a BEASC Technologies cofounder. “After all the anxiety and excitement, the sleepless nights, the frustrations of failing, and the joys of validation, it’s a sobering feeling to know that our hard work has won us an international trophy.”
Second place and $20,000 went to ECO-Structures Limited. Students from the University of the West Indies in Kingston, Jamaica, developed a way to repurpose plastic waste into construction aggregate. The environmentally friendly mixture will limit solid waste while advancing Jamaica’s infrastructure goals.
The teams’ success demonstrates the entrepreneurial growth happening in Jamaica. Jamaican universities have seen an increase in students interested in entrepreneurship and have gained the attention of outside stakeholders, who are helping develop a sustainable entrepreneurial ecosystem within the country through funding, mentorship, and other efforts. The universities first participated in the IBMC in 2014 and have quickly risen to the top.
“Our primary purposes for starting and continuing to champion the IBMC are to educate and inspire smarter entrepreneurs around the world, and this year’s results are direct evidence of those purposes coming to pass,” says Jeff Brown, IBMC director and Rollins Center associate director of operations. “It is so rewarding to see the impact this competition is making.”
Over five thousand teams from five hundred schools in thirty countries—from Canada to Chile to Cambodia—participated in affiliated competitions throughout the year, vying for a spot at this year’s finals. Last month, thirty-six finalists gathered in downtown Provo to present their business ideas. Teams presented to a variety of judges including local entrepreneurs and investors, BYU and traveling professors, and an all-star final event judging panel of Ash Maurya, David Bland and Aaron Eden. See below for the final IBMC results.
First Place - BEASC Technologies, Northern Caribbean University
Second Place - ECO-Structures Limited, The University of West Indies
Third Place - BayWatch Technologies, Brigham Young University
Fourth Place - Portal Entryways, Brigham Young University
Fifth Place - AssistENT, John Hopkins University
Eco-Plastic, American University of Phnom Penh
Fresh Stamp Inc., Brigham Young University
Queritel, The University of the West Indies
Shogjur, Royal Thimphu College
SOULmuch, San Diego State University
Alban, Monterrey Institute of Technology
E.I. Robotics, Brigham Young University
Khione, Brigham Young University
Speeko, The University of Iowa
Tabnex, University of Waterloo
The Local Food Experiment, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay
UKU, Antenor Orrego Private University
VerdiLife, The University of Iowa
Vertiball, University of New Brunswick
Zito International, Monterrey Institute of Technology
Fluke Operadora, University of Sao Paulo & Getulio Vargas Foundation
GnomikX, Birla Institute of Technology & Science, Pilani
InfoMate, John Brown University
Melijo, University of Brawijaya
NanoPearl, Institute of Chemical Technology, Mumbai
O’heal, Pontifical Catholic University of Chile
PlantBox, Ryerson University
PLIMES, University of Tsukuba
Pneulyfe, Northern Caribbean University
SheLeads, University of Waterloo
Skolastik Oasis, The University of the West Indies
Smart Staffing, Michigan State University
Songen, University of Wisconsin-River Falls
STEM Library Lab, Tulane University
Tried & True Technology, Quinnipiac University
UniRider, John Brown University
The International Business Model Competition, founded by Brigham Young University in 2010, is the first and largest lean startup competition in the world. This unique student competition focuses on the process entrepreneurs undertake as they test and validate their business ideas with customers to decrease uncertainty and increase success in entrepreneurship. The IBMC’s primary aim is to educate and inspire smarter and more successful entrepreneurs.
Media Contact: Jordan Christiansen (801) 422-8938
Writer: Maggie Kuta