EASTERN CARIBBEAN Thursday, October 1, 2020 — Jody White, an entrepreneur and business executive from Trinidad and Tobago, emerged as the winner of the inaugural OECS-Republic Bank Business Model Competition, taking home the first-place prize of US$20,000.
The competition is a strategic initiative of the OECS Sustainable Development Movement, designed to strengthen entrepreneurship in the Caribbean through capacity building, access to investors and leveraging opportunities.
The much-anticipated final of the Business Model Competition was a pitch battle with star of ABC’s Shark Tank and CEO of the Shark Group, Daymond John, and featuring the top eight entrepreneurs.
Trevaun Solomon of Project Jaguar: The Home of The Teacherpreneur, in Antigua and Barbuda, took home the second place prize of US$10,000; and Alex Straun of Genesis Payment Solutions, in St. Kitts and Nevis, won the third place prize of US$5,000.
White is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Trinidad and Tobago-based Slimdown360, a company that produces and distributes various types of root crop pasta, flours and ready-to-eat frozen meals.
The company turns fresh sweet potatoes and cassava into gluten-free pasta, gluten-free flours and prepared meals. Satisfying a need for grain-free, gluten-free pasta – a category in which few products exist.
Root crops are generally inexpensive and Slimdown360 has found a way to create a scalable, value-added product — operating in a specialty, higher-value market — out of them.
Slimdown360 fulfills the needs of a large, untapped consumer segment, while supporting regional agriculture. The company interacts with the entire value chain, from the farm to the final product.
Slimdown360’s customers are largely overseas, and its products were recently selected as Amazon’s Choice in the Paleo category of the Amazon website.
The OECS-Republic Bank Business Model Competition sought to: strengthen the capacity of 30 high growth potential entrepreneurs in the Caribbean via integration into a Virtual Accelerator; facilitate the connection of high growth potential entrepreneurs to investors and mentors; facilitate business match-making; and connect entrepreneurs to an ecosystem of business development support.
Of the 30 Caribbean entrepreneurs, who embarked on the eight-week journey of capacity-building and networking — via integration into the Business Model Competition’s virtual network of business development support — 19 advanced to the semi-final phase of the competition, and eight were selected to participate in the final pitch competition with Daymond John.