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NCU's Guardanna wins business model competition

Published:Monday | April 4, 2016 | 4:00 AM
Princess Shakes (left) and Natoy Allen.

Northern Caribbean University (NCU) has, for the third consecutive year, come away as the winner of the National Business Model Competition (NBMC), with student-entrepreneur team Guardanna securing a cash prize of J$2 million.

Guardanna also received an all-expense-paid trip to represent Jamaica at the upcoming International Business Model Competition (IBMC).

The Mandeville-based tertiary institution's team members, Princess Shakes and Natoy Allen, made their winning presentation to a panel of private-sector judges in the final round of the national competition last Friday, beating 12 other teams from four universities.

Runners-up were Sweelevia's Nature's Tea (first), Phyto-BioFoods (second), and Rabb-Eats (third), all from the University of the West Indies.

Guardanna detailed the process of their business model as they presented their DEET-free, mosquito-repellent product Guard, which was a response to the 2014 outbreak of the chikungunya virus that later became a regional epidemic.

Shakes, founder and CEO of Guardanna, said: "We are the first female team to be representing Jamaica internationally and we will be working hard to secure a win for our country."

The NBMC is organised at the local level by the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) through the Jamaica Venture Capital Programme and the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica.

For this staging, financial support was tapped from the Multilateral Investment Fund, Pan Jamaican Investment Trust, National Commercial Bank, GK Capital Management, Scotiabank Jamaica, and Jamaica National Building Society.

This year's IBMC will be held on April 29 and 30 at the Microsoft Ventures campus in Washington, DC, in the United States, where teams from scores of universities and business schools across the globe will compete for the grand cash prize of US$30,000 and the prestigious IBMC trophy.

With a month to prepare, Guardanna team member Allen added: "For us, the most effective strategy is gratitude. We're able to appreciate our product even more now because of how far we've come and the process we've gone through to make our product what it is."