Medija Traditions, a student-entrepreneur team from the University of Technology (UTech), won the National Business Model Competition (NBMC), securing a $2 million cash prize to launch their innovative new healthcare business, as well as J$300,000 for their university’s business school to invest in improving its programs.
The duo, consisting of Shasantay Jennings and Shantay Siddo, offered a natural healing solution in the form of a liquid dressing to a panel of private sector judges in the final round of the national competition, beating 14 other teams from five universities.
The finalists were SWAZE (first) from the University of the West Indies winning $1 million; Fresh Fuel (second) from the University of the West Indies winning $500,000 and Payalynk (third) from the University of Technology winning $200,000.
Shasantay Jennings, Company Founder who is also enrolled in UTech’s marketing program, said, “We have come across other natural wound dressings on the market. But our product is different in terms of three components that are addressed: rapid healing, protection against bacteria and pain.There is no other product on the market that does all three.
Medija Traditions’ revolutionary invention is made from organic plant ingredients native to Jamaica, including activated charcoal, chilli extract, hibiscus plant, and a specially formulated polymer that is designed to adhere to the skin.
Jennings, detailing how she came up with her business idea, said: “It actually came about thinking about my grandmother who passed away. She usually used lots of natural plant ingredients to help heal her body. And it came to me one day – her remedies were effective but the way she used them was very complicated for her. She should dry and crush the ingredients, put it on the skin, then use something to attach it on the skin [so it stays]. And the smell, too, was a problem.
Yet noting the popularity of using natural ingredients such as plants and herbs for healing in Jamaica, she and Siddo came up with and came up with an adhesive bandage. But after complaints that the bandage fell off too easily and the costs to fix it were too expensive, the two then pivoted and designed a safe and cost-effective liquid bandage.
The National Business Model Competition, now in its seventh year, is organized at the local level by the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) as part of its Strengthening Innovation, Growth and Entrepreneurship Ecosystems, also known as BIGEE, and the Private Sector Organization of Jamaica.
Financial support this year came from corporate sponsors PanJam Investment, Musson Foundation, Scotiabank Jamaica, Sagicor Jamaica, GK Capital Management, Burger King, Delta Capital Partners and Blueprint Events.
Bbusiness modeling, aimed at reducing the failure rate of start-up businesses, differs from a static business plan and focuses on evaluation interaction with customers, then pivot and change course based on lessons learned.
Jamaican universities performed exceptionally well at IBMC 2018, with Beasc Technologies from Northern Caribbean University winning first place, the Global Champion trophy and US$30,000. Eco-Structures, representing the University of the West Indies, won second place and received a cash prize of US$20,000; and Queritel, the third Jamaican team, ranked among the top 10 universities out of 42 in the world, after a total of five teams from Jamaica’s National Business Model Competition competed on the world stage.
The NBMC was conceived at DBJ’s inaugural venture capital conference held in September 2013 by keynote speaker, Paul Ahlstrom of Alta Ventures Group, Utah, USA, who along with Joseph Matalon proposed to fund the winner’s prize if local universities collaborate.
The competition was designed to help young entrepreneurs turn their business ideas into reality and facilitates access to mentors, coaches and angel investors to provide the capital needed to start their business.