Sat | Jul 31, 2021

Edunomics online venture wins JSE pitch room

Published:Sunday | January 31, 2021 | 8:53 AM

Disruptive online businesses were the focus of the JSE Pitch Room Competition this year, which featured five tech ventures, including a drone maker.

The ‘best pitch’ went to Edunomics, a platform which offers online learning as a paid service for high-school students, and run by 24-year-old Christopher Bennett.

The Edunomics founder and CEO likens the business model to that of a streaming service like Netflix, which offers full use of content for one flat fee. He currently offers learning videos and tests for the sciences and mathematics subjects on the active site

Bennett argued on Thursday that the advancement of tech over the years had largely left Jamaica behind, but that the pandemic had changed that.

“We are slow to act but fast to react,” he said. “The disruption has been there, but COVID-19 has highlighted the gap for us,” he said, adding that the country needs to develop a hybrid model for education, with the increased ability to work and learn remotely.

Bennett, fresh out of teachers’ college and now a science teacher at Holy Childhood High School, sees Edunomics as one aspect of his vision to transform education. Another is change at the policy level.

“I want to be the minister of education,” he said.

The JSE Pitch Room is a regular feature of the annual capital markets conference hosted by the Jamaica Stock Exchange, with participants from Jamaica, the Caribbean and the international markets.

The other four pitch room contestants were Hummingbird, a passenger drone manufacturing company; online payment portal 1Clikpay; a food and restaurant discount app called Siev; and a geodata company. Each got six minutes to pitch their venture capital to a judging panel and in front of an audience of venture capitalists and investment bankers.

“I am thankful to God that I won. I founded the company because I have a passion for my students and learning,” said Bennett. The prize was $300,000.

The team at Edunomics includes content moderator Tanieka Powell, who is based at Donald Quarry High. She collects the content and records.

Bennett wants to raise $500,000 in exchange for a 10 per cent stake in the venture, to fund its expansion. He plans to market the videos to more schools in the coming months.