The Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship - Caribbean and the Arthur Guinness Project recently partnered to host the annual Made of More Entrepreneurs Challenge (MoMEC).
The challenge was created to highlight the importance of entrepreneurs who are working not just to start-up, but to scale and create change in their local communities.
After much training and pitch practice the eight finalists recently presented their best ‘boardroom’ pitches to a panel of judges for a share of up to USD$120,000 in no collateral, low-interest loans, and a USD$10,000 social entrepreneurship grant. This year's winning company is ‘Stewy's Greetings’, the brainchild of Michael Stewart.
Michael built the company to make it convenient for customers to order wedding stationery that reflects their unique personalities, preferences, and style. Requesting US$30,000.00 in his pitch, Michael was granted the full amount. Now armed with access to capital, he aims to further establish his brand in the local and regional market.
Collateral requirements are often extremely onerous for early stage companies. To assist with this challenge the Branson Centre wanted to create a fund that did away with collateral requirements so that entrepreneurs can access the money they need to grow their businesses. MoMEC makes capital accessible to all entrepreneurs, with this year being the first that participants did not have to be a member of the Centre in order to be eligible for entry in the challenge.
“The Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship is on a mission to support and nurture entrepreneurs who will create opportunities for investments leading to growth and development in the Caribbean economy. One of the ways we're able to fulfil that mission is by giving entrepreneurs access to low-interest financing through our Made of More Entrepreneurs Challenge, which we launched three years ago. Our past participants have used the funding to expand their operations and increase revenues,” said Lisandra Rickards, Chief Entrepreneurship Officer at the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship – Caribbean.
This is the third year that the Branson Centre has partnered with the Arthur Guinness Project to provide entrepreneurs with an opportunity to present their unique projects and vision, with an opportunity to gain access capital.
MoMEC applicants that were judged based on the following criteria:
- Financial Ability – presenting their financials and show how viable their business is
- Growth Plans – to show how they plan to grow and scale their business, especially as it relates to putting funding to good use
- Social Responsibility – showcasing how their work impacts the welfare of community and employees
Clare Bailey, Training and Development Manager at the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship - Caribbean, was very pleased with outcome of this year’s finalists. “I’m very proud of the entrepreneurs and what they were able to accomplish in a very short time. Today, their pitches were indicative of the hard work that they employed in pitch preparation and most importantly graciously accepting feedback. These brave entrepreneurs have taken a bold step to execute on their ambition and being here at the Made of More Challenge signals their intention to transition from entrepreneurs to business leaders. That is exactly what this economy needs, more change makers who want to grow from start-up to scale up,” stated Bailey.