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Classy teachers win $10k

Business 20 Apr, 2023 Follow News

Aaron Santamaria with his project advisor Vlad Logvinov.

Steve Toms with Polly Pickering, left, and Jessica Coni

Substitute Teachers of Cayman (STOC), from left, Alyssa Manderson, Maggie Ebanks, Deidre Garcia-Daniel, Kirkpatrick Clarke, Sharice McLean and Charlie Kirkconnell

Business Design Competition 2023, front, from left: Deidre Garcia-Daniel, Sherilyn Miller, Nina Ketis, Andrew Ebanks, Melisa Bent, and Sherolene Belnavis. Back, from left: Sharice McLean, Maggie Ebank

The 2023 Cayman Islands Business Design Competition ‘Pitch Day’ had viewers from across the globe tuning in via livestream to watch Cayman’s entrepreneurs compete for over US$10K in cash prizes and wraparound business services.

Produced by Enterprise Cayman and sponsored by Cayman Enterprise City (CEC), the annual Business Design Competition invites Cayman’s entrepreneurs to showcase their new and innovative business ideas.

This year’s competitors gathered at the Harquail Studio Theatre on April 1. They were shortlisted from an impressive cohort of 25 submissions. The programme’s seven finalists took part in an intensive series of workshops, project advisor meetings, networking events, and a Pitch Day where they presented their finals projects to a panel of judges, which included Rodney Alison, founder of Synergy Technology Engineering Limited SEZC, Rich Dyer, co-founder of Massive Media, Woody Foster, managing director of Foster’s Food Fair, Joshua Hecht, venture investor at Avalanche SEZC, and Polly Pickering, managing director of eShore.

 “We were absolutely blown away by the fresh ideas produced and the talented individuals that presented final projects during the Pitch Day,” said Alyssa Manderson, programmes and events coordinator at Enterprise Cayman. “We are excited to watch these projects evolve and can’t wait to see what these individuals will accomplish.”

 The initiative was launched in 2021, on the heels of the COVID-19 pandemic, to help creatives and entrepreneurs. “The Business Design Competition’s main purpose is to strengthen Cayman’s supportive innovation ecosystem,” said Charlie Kirkconnell, CEO of CEC and director of Enterprise Cayman. “The competition fosters knowledge-sharing amongst projects and professionals and is part of a vibrant platform designed to enable innovators and entrepreneurs to connect, share experiences and insight, and ultimately thrive!”

 The People’s Choice Award was presented to Substitute Teachers of Cayman (STOC), a platform for substitute teachers and schools by Sharice McLean, Deidre Garcia-Daniel, Maggie Ebanks, and Kirkpatrick Clarke. This was the first year that members of the public were invited to vote on a People’s Choice Award which was presented by Andre Ebanks, Minister for Investment, Innovation and Social Development. The STOC team won the grand prize of $10,000 plus wraparound business services, sponsored by Cayman Enterprise City.

The Innovation Award was presented to Aaron Santamaria for his project QuickQuip, a new technology driven project offering pre-written replies and helping to streamline communications. Santamaria received a $2,000 cash prize and wraparound business services, sponsored by Avalanche.

The Community Impact Award was presented to Steve Toms for his project Island Pet, locally made, sustainable fresh pet products. Toms received a $2,000 cash prize and wraparound business services, sponsored by eShore.

 All finalists received a business support Prize Pack valued at over CI$1,500, which includes access to professional meeting spaces, legal advisory sessions, marketing support, reduced rate of incorporation, access to CEC networking events, a 90% HubSpot discount, as well as scholarships to attend code/cyber courses.

Steve Toms said: “It was an incredible experience that pushed me beyond my comfort zone and motivated me to turn my ideas into reality. Without this event, my ideas would have remained just dreams. Thank you, Enterprise Cayman, for igniting the entrepreneurial spark in Cayman! I am eager to see what future events may bring and the opportunities that lie ahead.”

“The Business Design Competition is a lot of fun. The workshops and resources provided are great, you get to meet lots of interesting people, and the competition pushes you outside your comfort zone,” said Aaron Santamaria.

Sharice McLean said: “Team STOC is immensely grateful to Enterprise Cayman for providing us with the necessary resources and support to emerge victorious in this competition. Thank you for believing in our project and for investing in our potential to achieve greatness.”

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