Finalist selected in 'Made of More' challenge
Eight entrepreneurs are now one step closer to accessing a share of US$130,000 in financing to support their businesses through the Made of More Entrepreneurs Challenge. The group emerged from the competition's semi-finals last Friday in an intense all-day session.
The entrepreneurs presented their 10-minute pitches to a panel of judges, who selected the finalists based on the strengths of their business plans, ability to repay the business loan, and creativity of their presentations.
Randy McLaren of Bresheh, Theo Smith of Great House Caterers, and Lacey-Ann Bartley of Bartley's All In Wood were the top-three presenters for the day. However, the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship - Caribbean and Arthur Guinness Foundation will be giving all eight finalists an equal shot at investment during the final slated for September 16 at the ATL Automotive Showroom and Branson Centre Accelerator space in Montego Bay.
"The finalists are all well-deserving of their position. They have all proven that they have the ability to sustain their businesses and have the potential to grow in a socially impactful way through funding received from the Made of More Challenge," said Imru James, brand manager for stouts and Malta at Red Stripe.
The competition has attracted a wide range of dynamic small businesses with potential for growth. Dub poet and entrepreneur Randy McLaren's customisable Bresheh bags have become quite popular across Jamaica and the diaspora.
Theo Smith's company, Great House Caterers, has dominated the wedding industry by providing exotic and creative menu options, while Lacey-Ann Bartley's company, Bartley's All In Wood, provides real wood furniture and other souvenir gift items.
"I am excited! There is something about Guinness and the Made of More Challenge that is renowned. We, the finalists are the best of the best," said Bartley, who applied last year, but was not selected.
Other finalists include Carol Lue, founder of CaribShare Biogas, which provides an alternative energy solution that uses waste to produce biogas to provide electricity; and Larren Peart's company, Blue Dot Media, which is an advertising agency that provides its clients with innovative and affordable ways of advertising.
As they get ready for their final pitch in this year's challenge, finalists will each be given access to the judges' feedback on their semi-final presentations in order to sharpen the areas in which they fell short.
US$130,000 in low-interest, zero-collateral loans, as well as social-impact grants, will be available to the winners of the challenge. The eight finalists are vying to receive much-needed funding to ensure that their businesses continue successfully.