An Outstanding Performance

Basseterre, St. Kitts, Thursday 2nd May, 2013 – The eight (8) young entrepreneurs who represented St. Kitts and Nevis at the just concluded Caribbean Innovation Challenge in Barbados have been praised for their outstanding performance and high level of professionalism.

Among the officials and judges who showered praises on members of Saint Kitts Business Connections (SKBC) was the 1998 Miss Universe, Wendy Fitzwilliam of Trinidad and Tobago, who told them, “You are very confident about your brand and I love that. It is very important to know your brand and live it. You cannot be shy – most people are and I don’t see that (in you). Good job!” The group dined with the former Miss Universe for lunch on Thursday, at her request.

Everywhere the group turned they were promoting SKBC and was the only team in branded uniform; which helped in pushing their brand and demonstrating what they are capable of doing for future customers.

SKBC’s CEO, Kai’Jana Henry said the group benefitted tremendously from the exposure and that their participation has greatly enhanced their understanding of how to establish and operate a business.

The two day competition brought the top 20 finalists together, following an elimination process that included 493 different companies, from countries throughout the Caribbean.

One of the highlights for the group was on Friday, (26th April), during what is called the “Elevator Pitch” when they and the other competitors were required to present their projects to a panel of business experts and a live audience.

Presenting on behalf of the group was the CEO (Mr. Henry), whose presentation was described by the judges as articulate, well paced and providing the right type of information needed to convince potential investors. While other presenters were chastised for their below average presentations, the panel of experts told the St. Kitts and Nevis representative that they could find no serious error because it was simply excellent.

What was even more exceptional was that only minutes before the presentation they were asked to alter their two-man presentation and reduce the pitch from 3 minutes to sixty seconds, after being advised by the organizers that the procedures had been changed. Nonetheless, within minutes, the CEO managed to re-write and re-style the entire presentation and in the end wowed the judges who commended him for a flawless presentation.

To say that Saint Kitts Business Connections was a hit at the competition would be an under-statement. Everywhere they appeared the people of Barbados and fellow competitors were able to identify them, repeating the company slogan, SKBC “Well give You the World”.

The overall experience for the group has been described as enlightening. They said that they learnt a lot from their participation and from the many experts involved in the round table panel discussions on various business subjects. They admitted however that one of the challenges that confronted them was that of being accepted not just as young people, but as young businessmen and women.

The group was by far the youngest (at the average age of 17) but given the strong brand awareness campaign that they launched in Barbados, it became obvious that they were serious contenders who were focused on their mission as a new marketing agency that specializes in social media management and promotions.

Though they were highly commended by the judges and other experts at the event, the Saint Kitts Business Connections (SKBC) was not able to secure one of the top two spots available for the Economic Entrepreneur category in which they competed. Officials however advised that they came extremely close to making it to the top and were encouraged to enter the contest again, when it is held next year. After the results were announced they indicated that, “We may not have won a plaque but we still feel like an unstoppable force”.

The winning companies in their category (Economic Entrepreneur) were

• 1st place Hivesource – Trinidad and Tobago

• 2nd Place- LCP Industries – Antigua and Barbuda

The group returned home late Saturday night and the members are now seeking to settle down in preparation for their upcoming college examinations.

However they have again expressed their most profound thanks and appreciation for the unwavering support that they received from members of the public, companies, individuals and the government, who helped in financing their trip for the competition. They have added that they are making arrangements to appear on radio to report to the country on their participation and will also be personally contacting their sponsors to offer words of thanks for their assistance. They also pointed out that they still have a few more thousands to raise, to complete the payment for all related expenses. As such they are urging some of the companies that were approached, but are yet to confirm, to come to their assistance

The Caribbean Innovation Challenge (CIC) is an international competition and business start-up accelerator program for young entrepreneurs in the Caribbean. The CIC is organized and developed by UNDP Barbados and the OECS and the Young Americas Business Trust (YABT) as a part of the UNDP project Youth Innovation (Youth-IN): a Caribbean Network for Youth Development.

It was held in Barbados at the Hilton Hotel from Thursday 25th to Friday 26th April, 2013.

St.Kitts Business Connections is comprised of:

• Kai’Jana Henry- Chief Executive Officer

• Dennis Mc Call Jr – Chief Operating Officer

• Adielle Chiverton – Chief Financial Officer

• Sanal Huggins – Finance Manager

• Andre Hanley – Chief Marketing Officer

• Nia Francis – Marketing Manager

• Jaleel Grant- Chief Technical Officer

• Jenee Williams -Technical Assistant

As required by the organizers the group was accompanied by two adult mentors/advisors in Ms. Desi Brown and Mr. Val Henry.

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