Shawneil Bailey-Gordon, founder of Zarabelle and winner of the 2023 Best Pitch Forward (centre), with her symbolic cheques and award with (from left) Dominic McDowell, project manager, Kingston Creative, and Andrea Dempster-Chung, executive director of Kingston Creative.
Kingston Creative hosted its fourth annual pitch competition on Friday, November 24 at the new Kingston Creative co-working space located at 107 Harbour Street, as part of its ongoing commitment to fostering innovation and supporting creative entrepreneurs. Developed in partnership with the IDB Lab, JAMPRO and the Development Bank of Jamaica, ‘Best Pitch Forward’ showcases the exceptional talent and innovative ideas from the Orange Economy and ensures that the best start-ups receive funding, a release outlined.
Creatives were provided access to training sessions, coaching and a pitch preparation guide. Of the 118 applicants, only 10 creative entrepreneurs were shortlisted to pitch their ideas: Ashantia Stewart, founder of Ascendev, Joshua Solas, founder of BAD ART Gallery (SOLASINK) , Yanique DaCosta, founder of Eventide, Ina Sotirova, founder of Mango.
Magic Ltd, Glacis Gordon, founder of Sulay, Moken Marsai, founder of Synclair Studio, Daniel T. Edwards, founder of The 180 Vision LLC (Long Story Short), Kristofferson Nunes, founder of The Career Doc., Ajoeanna Brown, founder of Zah.Rhyne’s Designs, and Shawneil Bailey-Gordon, founder of Zarabelle.
The competition provided a platform for entrepreneurs to present their business ideas to a panel from the private, public and multilateral sectors. The judges were Christopher Brown, general manager, Development Bank of Jamaica, Rezworth Burchenson, CEO, VM Wealth Management and Simon Johnson senior specialist, IDB Lab. These business experts carefully evaluated each pitch based on its originality, market potential, creativity, scalability, and the overall viability of the business model.
Shawneil Bailey-Gordon emerged the overall winner, receiving a cash prize of $250,000 and also copping the People’s Choice award, worth an additional $50,000. This funding will serve as a catalyst for her business growth, providing the necessary resources to propel Zarabelle’s web-based talent casting platform onto the global stage.
Kristofferson Nunes, representing The Career Doc secured the second-place prize of $150,000, while Daniel T. Edwards of Long Story Short Jamaica received $100,000.
“Best Pitch Forward is a testament to the talent and resilience of our local entrepreneurs,” said Dominic McDowell, project manager at Kingston Creative. “We are incredibly proud of the calibre of entrepreneurs who participated in this fourth edition of Best Pitch Forward and more so, the quality of the pitches this year. I was inspired by their passion and I am confident that we will see these individuals make significant contributions to the cultural and creative industries and the Jamaican economy as a whole.”
Source: The Gleaner
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