SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY) – On December 8, 2020, the top six (6) entrepreneurs from Curacao and St. Maarten will pitch to an international jury and investors with the hopes of winning prizes, getting mentorship and coaching, and possibly getting an investor at iFounded 2020 Pitch Finals.
iFounded 2020 kicked off on October 1 and comprises of a virtual bootcamp and pitch competition. The virtual bootcamp took place during Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW2020) from November 16-19. Applicants were invited to all sessions to help them prepare for the pitch competition. Many of the sessions were streamed on Facebook through the official GEW Sint Maarten page (www.fb.com/gew.sxm).
On November 27, fifteen (15) semi-finalists pitched to gain a spot in the finals on December 8. These businesses were chosen based on their application and if they fulfilled the basic requirements: a) have a registered business no more than five (5) years old and b) demonstrate potential to have high-impact and growth. These semifinalists pitched for three (3) minutes, which followed with a seven (7) minutes Q&A.
The judging criteria were: a) Creativity & Innovation, which looks at the uniqueness of the business and its solution(s), b) Viability, which focuses on whether the business fits the context it operates in and can be sustained, c) Profitability/Financially Sound, which focuses on the financial health and resilience of the business, d) Scalability, which focuses on the potential to grow beyond the island, e) Impact, which focuses on the way the business positively impacts its community socially, environmentally, and/or economically, f) Leadership, which focuses on the team and capability to lead the business and g) Presentation, which focuses on the ability to communicate clearly about the company.
The six (6) entrepreneurs with the highest scores were chosen to move on to the finals on December 8, 2020. These finalists are from both Curacao and St. Maarten. In no particular order, they are a) Cristal Legrand, Le Grand Voyages – a destination management company focuses on creating multi-island destination experiences, b) Zack Gressman, B&G Payment Solutions – a fintech company focused on creating opportunities for both bank and unbanked to have contactless payment solutions, c) Crystal Richardson – CoCoMoods Concepts, a lifestyle business focused on celebrating cultural diversity and heritage through designed personal and home fashion, d) Juan Vicario – Mark-A-Web Services, a data privacy and protection business focused on providing awareness, education, and services, e) Sunil Mirani – Orders.sx, an online delivery service focused on delivery your favourite foods to your door, and f) Sabine Berendse - Green Phenix, a social enterprise in the circular economy focused on turning plastics into beautiful and functional retail products.
As a bonus, international investors will help prep all the finalists for December 8, 2020. These investors mostly, based in Atlanta, have donated their time and expertise to support these finalists before and after December 8. Regional and international investors have invited to hear the pitches to showcase. In the current global climate, investors are actively looking for international opportunities and the islands are attractive to them.
Jury members are successful entrepreneurs from Curacao, St. Maarten, and USA. These judges will also hear the pitches for the first and choose a winner from Curacao and a winner from St. Maarten. These notable jury members include: Arun Jagtiani (SXM) of Island Real Estate, a dynamic entrepreneur and realtor, Gino Jacobs (CUR) of Profound Projects, a serial entrepreneur in the digital transformation space, and Christy Brown (USA) of Launchpad 2x, an entrepreneur and investor focused on empowering underserved female founders.
iFounded 2020 has brought together Curaçao Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KvK), Centrale Bank van Curaçao en Sint Maarten (CBCS),Chamber of Commerce & Industry Sint Maarten (COCI), and GEW Curaçao as collaborative partners. Other strategic partners include the Dutch Caribbean Securities Exchange, Curacao Development Bank, and TelEm N.V., the official telecommunications provider.
Cristal Le Grand, LeGrand Voyages (SXM)
Crystal Richardson, Cocomoods Concepts (SXM)
Sunil Mirani, Orders.sx (SXM)
Juan Vicario, Mark-A-Web (CUR)
Zack Gressmann, B&G Payment Solutions (CUR)
Sabine Berendse, Green Phenix (CUR)