Growth & Jobs | Technology-savvy entrepreneurs wanted | News

THE BAHAMAS-BASED Kanoo Innovation Hub is looking for local entrepreneurs, who will receive technical support and training to develop and grow technology-based businesses.

The center is an innovation accelerator designed together with Draper University, a leading authority on acceleration programs in Silicon Valley, United States.

Kanoo accelerates new businesses by equipping participants with the tools, techniques and funding to identify problems and generate innovative solutions.

Speaking recently on the Jamaica Information Service’s (JIS) online discussion programme, ‘Studio 58A’, the centre’s co-founder, Davina Bain, said successful applicants will be trained over several weeks to convert their ideas into what she called as ‘minimum viable. products’.

The deadline for submissions is 15 November, and applicants using the registration code – ‘Studio 58A’ – will be given priority during the selection process. Interested persons can visit canoeinnovationhub.com for application requirements.

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“We have created a direct bridge to Silicon Valley with Draper University to tap into their network of venture capitalists. It is also a way for entrepreneurs across the Caribbean to connect and share ideas in one ecosystem, to ensure that businesses can expand in the region before expanding globally,” said Bain.

She added that the organization is focused on supporting entrepreneurs with innovative ideas that use technology to solve problems or build on solutions that can be applied in the region.

“We have three levels in this progressive programming. You have the initial cohort, that is for two weeks. In February, we [will] they have a second level, which is a pre-accelerator; which will happen for four weeks. The top 30 people out of the program will matriculate into this, and then the top 10 people will go on to an immersion program in Silicon Valley,” Bain further explained.

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Head of partnerships and business development at Draper University, Khadija Ghazi, said the training sessions are led by other entrepreneurs who have built businesses in the technology industry.

“We only bring in entrepreneurs, people who have built, people who have turned around, people who have failed, and people who have raised funds who are delivering the content. We also have Discord groups, where discussions take place, and you are also surrounded by other entrepreneurs who share ideas about what they are working on,” said Ghazi.

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She added that once the training is completed, the entrepreneurs will also become part of a wider ecosystem to receive mentoring and other forms of support.

“The thing I appreciate the most [is], not ‘chop’ after two weeks. You will become part of the largest entrepreneurial ecosystems in the world. Did you learn something you weren’t able to apply? It comes back for advice, consultancy or financing [support, and] you will continue to be part of this ecosystem,” explained Ghazi.

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