PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Thursday December 7, 2017 — De Jeunesse Bath and Body Products, a company that manufactures high-quality, natural bath and body products, has earned the top prize at the launch of the LINK-Caribbean Pitch Competition.
They wowed the judges at the Hyatt Regency in Trinidad and Tobago with their pitch from a field of five competing firms and walked away with the coveted US$5,000 prize.
“We are overjoyed but we also realized that it does not matter what kind of company you have; if you show your passion, demonstrable evidence that the business can work and get feedback from customers, then you are in business — if not, it is a hobby,” Chief Executive Officer Shenelle Hills-Fife said. “We plan on using the funds to purchase equipment that will triple our current production capacity.”
Like many startup founders, Hills-Fife juggled full-time work with developing a business, but quit her day job earlier this year to concentrate fully on growing her business.
“This is only the start. We intend to apply for the US$25,000 LINK-Caribbean Investment Readiness Grant and even the Co-Investment Grant given the increased interest of investors in our company,” she said.
The 5-5-5 Pitch Campaign is the latest initiative of LINK-Caribbean in an effort to find more investable businesses, or “deal flow” for the region’s Angel Investor networks. The competition allows five entrepreneurs to pitch their businesses to a panel of five investors.
“We decided to run this initiative to raise greater awareness around the LINK-Caribbean programme and to ultimately spur a more buoyant angel investment ecosystem within the region,” explained Chris McNair, manager of Competitiveness and Export Promotion at the Caribbean Export Development Agency.
The LINK-Caribbean pitch campaign will continue in the Bahamas, Grenada, and St Lucia in 2018 and all interested entrepreneurs are encouraged to submit applications via the website www.link-caribbean.com.
The World Bank Group, together with the Caribbean Export Development Agency, launched LINK-Caribbean in September 2016, funded by the government of Canada. This investment facilitation program aims to enable early-stage Caribbean entrepreneurs to raise capital from private investors, particularly business angel investors.