National Youth Pitch Competition Launches Accelerator – StMaartenNews.com – News Views Reviews & Interviews

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~ 60 students, teachers, parents were in attendance for the kick-off of the accelerator ~

GREAT BAY — Application to the National Youth Pitch Competition closed on September 30.  Sixteen (16) teams comprising a total of forty-nine (49) students in eight (8) of the ten (10) secondary schools applied. Teams consisted on average of three students and most schools entered multiple applications to the competition.

Business ideas range from retail to agritech (agriculture technology) to recreation to beauty to circular economy. All teams had to submit an overview of financials and a video indicating what they would do with the grand prize of ANG 10 000, should they win.

In the past few weeks, the Minister of Finance, Hon. Ardwell Irion and the founder of Islandpreneur, Dr. Ife Badejo, visited some of the schools and spoke with the teams. Minister Irion and Dr. Badejo shared why this competition was made and heard the business ideas of the students while sharing their own experiences and importance of financial literacy.

The  accelerator launched on October 13 from 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM at the Government Administration Building. Initially designed for the top 5 teams, the launch of the accelerator was opened to all applicants, participating school representatives, and parents. Sixty (60) persons showed up at the Government Administration Building including students from the majority of all 16 teams. The kick-off included the first session of the accelerator program focused on the essentials of entrepreneurship using a tool called the Lean Model Canvas.

Damien Schmidt was the guest coach for the Lean Model Canvas and covered topics such as problem, customer, value proposition, solutions, and unfair advantage. Minister Irion covered costs and revenues and Dr. Badejo expounded on the key metrics and channels.

Though initially only five teams were to move on to the accelerator as finalists, due to the engagement and amazing interaction, it was decided to extend that invitation to all participating schools. This means that eight (8) teams will participate in the accelerator and also in the finals scheduled on November 20, 2022.

Finalist teams are:

NfuZion from St. Maarten Vocational Training School, which focuses on healthy drinks,
Cropin from St. Maarten Academy P.S.V.E, which is a peer to peer app focused on food security,
The Honest Cookie Company from St. Maarten Academy, which focuses on providing healthy cookies,
SXM House Finder from Caribbean International Academy, which is designed to find housing and real estate information on St. Maarten,
AO Essentials from Sundial, which is a fashion line,
SmartHax from St. Dominic High School, which is producing a life saving jacket for hikers,
Upcycl from Milton Peters College, which focuses on upcycling waste products and selling recycled goods, and
Brave from Leaning Unlimited, which is focused on creating games to support mental health.

The finals of the National Youth Pitch Competition will take place on November 20, 2022, during Global Entrepreneurship Week and will have both international and local judges. Each team has two (2) minutes to pitch and jury panelists have ten (10) minutes for questions.   Judges will score based on criteria such as creativity, viability, scalability, leadership, and presentation. The team with the highest score wins ANG 10 000 and an entrepreneurial exchange abroad. The audience, both in-person and streaming audience, will get to vote for their favorite.  The team that is deemed the “Crowd Favorite”  wins ANG 2500.

Organizers are hopeful that this competition will provide the youth with an opportunity to showcase their business ideas and develop their skills. In the long-term, this competition is poised to support sustainable economic growth through the development of financial literacy, entrepreneurial skills and innovative solutions.

Islandpreneur equips island-based entrepreneurs and creators to embrace digital tools, accelerate growth, and profitably scale their businesses. It does so through media and a variety of entrepreneurship development programs. Official partners include the Ministry of Finance and TelEm N.V. the official telecommunications provider.

Photo captions:1) Top Photo of Hon. Ardwell Irion, Minister of Finance (l), Dr. Ife Badejo, Founder of Islandpreneur (c) and Damien Schmidt, MBA, Project Coordinator of Princess Juliana International Airport and guest lecturer (r).
2) Below photo: Minister Irion and Mr. Schmidt engaging with the students at the kick-off held on October 13, 2022.

For more information, stay connected on Facebook, www.fb.com/iamislandpreneur, visit www.islandpreneur.co or contact the team at Islandpreneur at [email protected].

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