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.”
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.”
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.