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UWI students 'Breakdabox'

Published:Thursday | March 11, 2010 | 12:00 AM
Sandre Malcolm (left) receives a bear hug from his business partner, Duane McIntosh, after it was announced that they were the winners in the University of the West Indies (UWI) Guild of Students Entrepreneurship Competition during the presentation luncheon held at the Mona Visitors' Lodge at the UWI, Mona, yesterday.- Ricardo Makyn/Staff Photographer

Difference is always noted, and so it was for the duo Duane McIntosh and Sandre Malcolm, marketing students at the University of the West Indies (UWI).

The pair was awarded first place at the UWI Guild of Students Entrepreneurship Competition Presentation Luncheon, held at the Mona Visitors' Lodge at the UWI, Mona, yesterday.

The young men won $250,000 for their business plan, which touted a marketing company that would use unconventional ways to place a company's product in the public's eye. Breakdabox (the name of their company), according to Malcolm, is simple, raw, and awe-inspiring, with a touch of innovation.

Naturally, a difference was noted in their demeanour after they found out they had won.

"They are basically awarding creativity, and that's what we did," said Malcolm.

"The thing is, in the Jamaican society, people are afraid of their creativity, they are afraid to say 'I have a good idea'. With this award, it is showing that creativity can trump anything, basically."

Try to fill a niche

His business partner, McIntosh, stressed that despite the economic crunch in Jamaica, individuals should try to fill a niche, as those would always exist.

"Statistics have proven that Jamaica is ranked fourth in the world for entrepreneurship, and third for females, so it simply means there is no shortage of ideas here. The problem is the funding and the avenues to get that creativity out," he said.

Mario James placed second for his idea for an exclusive and high-end women's fashion label called Cabana Boy. He won $180,000 for his efforts.