Tech entrepreneurs head for training in Jordan

Last year, Oasis500 inked a deal with the Government and the World Bank to invest up to US$30,000 in the tech entrepreneurs under the Youth Employment in Digital and Creative Industries (YEDCI) project.

The three start-up projects, RevoFarm, CrimeBot and the Vinelist, were selected from a pool of 60 potential entrepreneurs who participated in a 45-hour intensive boot camp with Oasis500 last September, dubbed Start-Up Jamaica. The camp provided the entrepreneurs with the necessary tools, concepts and skills to create and manage successful companies.

The start-up techs depart for Jordan on Tuesday for a 100-day training initiative, which will see part of Oasis500’s planned investment come in the form of cash, while the remainder will be in mentorship, training, and other business support. In exchange, the Middle Eastern development company will take up to a 20 per cent stake in each start-up.

“We are looking to increase our users as well as expand into new markets,” chief executive officer of CrimeBot, Dave Oakley, told the Jamaica Observer. “Oasis500 says it has the necessary connections to do so and we are hoping that we can tap into any opportunity that this will provide to spread CrimeBot around the world.”

CrimeBot is a programme that seeks to enhance an individual’s safety through the provision of crime reports on the desired location. CrimeBot uses notifications, crime hot-spot illustrations and allows the submission of completely anonymous crime reports to persons who may wish to report a crime.

“Oasis500 will assist us in perfecting our business model so that we can become attractive to other investors,” Oakley added.

RevoFarm, a business analytics platform that was designed by Ricardo Gowdie, Warren Robinson and Oshane Gooden, seeks to improve the efficiency and productivity of local farmers by advising them when, where and what to plant.

Mannin Marsh, Alesha Aris and Tajhlois Laidley have also designed a shopping platform called Vinelist, which allows consumers to find the products they need online in Jamaica. Ultimately, the team hopes to bring convenience in commerce to both consumers and merchants.

Meanwhile, Minister of State Julian Robinson stated that Start-Up Jamaica is modelled from the success of a programme in Chile. He added that Oasis500’s support is ideal for the start-up entrepreneurs since the local market is too small for such companies to realise their full potential.

“While we are committed to growing the number of persons online, they can only succeed if they reach out into other markets,” he stated.

“What the opportunity with Oasis500 provides for them, is to take their ideas and look at how it can be applied in other markets, and to leverage their contacts because Oasis500 has the track record where 80 per cent of those who go through their acceleration programme get additional investment,” Robinson added.

The Start-Up Jamaica programme will be open to another 60 applicants, come May.


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