Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Sagicor Invests in Young Entrepreneurs’ Imagination

Inaugural winners of the Sagicor Foundation Imagine Awards for young entrepreneurs (L-R) third place winner Lamar Dell, Managing Director Castor Fields Farm, first place winner Anna Smith, Founder and Creative Director Invitokens and second placed winner, D'Andre Fraser, CEO Billodex Limited flash bright smiles with their hand carved plaques. In addition to the plaques, each winner's business was given a cash injection and a Sagicor Bank SME account to aid their business’ development.
On Wednesday, March 8, 2017 Sagicor Foundation awarded the winners of the inaugural Sagicor Imagine Awards with trophies and seed money to invest in their small businesses. The Award was introduced to encourage entrepreneurship and assist promising young Jamaicans who own an existing business or those who have developed a strong new business idea. Winners made pitches to a judging panel of some of Jamaica’s leading business minds including Mr. Richard Byles, President and CEO, Sagicor Group Jamaica and R. Danny Williams, Chairman, Sagicor Group Jamaica and Sagicor Foundation. 

As part of the selection process, entrants were asked to submit a well-articulated business plan which outlines their business idea or concept, growth strategy and an outline of the funds required. Ingrid Card, Vice President, Sagicor Group Marketing, who also served on the panel, is confident initiatives such as this will go a long way to drive entrepreneurial growth in the island. Card explained, “It is important that young Jamaicans are provided with opportunities for their small business dreams to be realized. Sagicor Foundation wants to encourage the idea that if you can imagine it, you can achieve it.”
Top 3 winners in the inaugural Sagicor Foundation Imagine Awards competition pose after being presented with their hand crafted plaques.  (L-R) Lamar Dell, Managing Director, Castor Fields Farms who’s company  placed third; Anna Smith, Founder and Creative Director, Invitokens, first place winner and D’Andre Fraser, CEO, Billodex Limited who came in second in the competition. The young entrepreneurs were chosen by Sagicor Foundation based on their strong business acumen and leadership talents. Each business was given a cash injection and a Sagicor Bank SME account to aid their small business’ development
First, second and third place winners, Invitokens, Billodex Limited and Castor Fields Farms, were furnished with Sagicor Bank SME accounts valued at $500,000.00, $300,000.00 and $150,000.00 respectively. Anna Smith, First place winner, Founder and Creative Director, Invitokens, hopes to use this money to make necessary investments in her wedding and events stationery business. Smith states, “Apart from providing working capital which will lend us flexibility, it will allow us to purchase equipment that will increase our capacity to respond to orders much more quickly.”

CEO of Billodex Limited, the soon to be launched ticketing mobile app, D’Andre Fraser and his CTO, Aundhrae Richardson, outline a similar sentiment, “We believe the Sagicor seed money will improve our business by helping us to get past some final hurdles we needed to make our product fully ready for today’s market.”

For the judging panel it was important that entrepreneurs demonstrated strong business acumen. Card added, “The winners were hand selected based on their solid business plan, strength of entrepreneurial team and sound long term financial goals. The competition was fierce and truly demonstrated the talents of Jamaica’s young people; however we know we selected the top three who best encumbered all the requirements of a good business leader.” 
President and CEO Sagicor Group Jamaica Ltd, Richard Byles (left) presents the Founder and Creative Director at Invitokens, Anna Smith with the Inaugural Sagicor Foundation Imagine Awards first place plaque. Smith finished ahead of D'Andre Fraser, CEO for Billodex and Lamar Dell, Managing Director of Castor Fields Farm. The young entrepreneurs were chosen by Sagicor Foundation based on their strong business acumen and leadership talents. Each business was given a cash injection and a Sagicor Bank SME account to aid their small business’ development. 
The Castor Fields Farm team, who are in the conceptualisation stage of their castor plant farm, were thrilled at the prospect to get assistance from Sagicor.   In a statement the team, who comprises of Lamar Dell, Craig Clarke and Najair Pennicoke shared, “We saw the Sagicor Imagine Awards as the right vehicle to propel us into launching our business, and with Sagicor being one of the leading financial institutions in the Caribbean they would be a fitting partner in this venture.”

About Sagicor Group Jamaica

Sagicor Group Jamaica is a financial services conglomerate. The Group offers products and services in the areas of Banking, Insurance, Investments, Real Estate, Asset Management and Retirement Planning. Sagicor Life Jamaica Limited is the leading Life and Health insurance provider in Jamaica. The Company commenced operations in 1970 as Life  of Jamaica Limited, the first locally owned life insurance company and    the first life insurance company to be listed on the JSE. The Sagicor Group owns the 3rd largest bank in Jamaica and one of the top Investments Companies. Sagicor Group Jamaica is a member of the wider Sagicor Financial Corporation. Sagicor Financial Corporation operates in over 20 countries and its operations date back to 1840.

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