NCB Capital Quest is worth the trip
On Tuesday, January 20, viewers on TVJ saw the pilot of NCB Capital Quest.
The reality programme showcases seven small and medium enterprises (SMEs) competing for an equity investment of up to JA$50 million, depending on their needs. The investment pool is primarily funded by sponsor NCB Capital Markets, led by CEO Steven Gooden. Norbrook Capital Management Limited, led by Khary Robinson, is a co-investor while NCB SME is a co-sponsor. Gooden and Robinson are the primary judges.
"NCB's Capital Quest reality TV series is one element of NCB's broader strategy to enable our local SMEs to increase their access to financing," said Nadeen Matthews, senior assistant general manager - strategy, marketing and communications at NCB, as well as executive producer and co-creator of the programme, in an interview with The Gleaner.
Matthews explained that, in 2013, NCB entered into a technical cooperation agreement with the Inter-American Development Bank for a project that sought to increase financing to SMEs to facilitate increased economic growth and to strengthen the capacity of SMEs to access financing from various sources. A number of initiatives have been implemented under the programme, but the final aspect is getting the SMEs access to financing.
"Our SMEs are traditionally focused on loan financing," said Matthews. "We want to ensure that we build the knowledge regarding a broader ecosystem of financing options available to SMEs such as angel/venture capital and private equity - which is fairly new to the Jamaican landscape." To quickly build that awareness and understanding, Matthews said something game-changing and innovative was required.
"As such, a TV programme was a phenomenal medium to explore," she said. "The SMEs were chosen based on their business track record, strength of owner's vision for their company, the case for financial investment, and general quality of the submission." There are other business-oriented reality shows on both local and foreign channels, but NCB Capital Quest is aiming to be different.
"This is the first programme to introduce the Jamaican public to the topic of equity financing," said Matthews. "Second, the participating SMEs were immersed in principles for effectively running their businesses and attracting investors over the course of three months." This represented an additional investment on the part of NCB to ensure their skill sets and capabilities were significantly enhanced so that, irrespective of whether the SME won the equity investment, they would still be able to take their businesses to another level.
"Finally, the programme draws on the expertise of both local and international business moguls," Matthews added. The programme kicked off with a weeklong boot camp last October, where contestants were immersed in key subject areas designed to help prepare them to better position their businesses to investors. The entrepreneurs went through a number of capability-building and competitive activities and challenges designed to showcase them and the businesses. Throughout these challenges, the SMEs were exposed to experts and business moguls in various fields who provided guidance and served as mentors.
Towards the end, the surviving SMEs received an opportunity to make their investment pitches to the panel of financiers, and this determined the winner of the inaugural NCB Capital Quest.
The show will also highlight the keys to running a successful business and teach viewers how to prepare their business to successfully access financing. NCB Capital Quest is directed by Mykal Cushnie while the production company is The Lab Inc.