Washington, D.C. and Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago—Global startup incubator and seed fund 1776 and Caribbean Returning Nationals Foundation (CRN) announced they will join forces in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago on Friday, January 15, 2016 to host Challenge Cup-Caribbean at Movie Towne Banquet and Conference Centre, expanding the annual global competition to include Port of Spain as 1 of 50 cities around the world that will use the Challenge to identify promising, scalable startups that are tackling challenges in regulated industries.
The event underscores the Caribbean’s vibrant startup community and the contributions its innovators are making in solving some of the world’s most difficult and intractable social challenges. The event is FREE and persons who are not competing can register to hear from featured speakers and the startups.
“We’re thrilled to join with Caribbean Returning Nationals Foundation to bring the Challenge Cup to the Caribbean, home to an inspiring community of entrepreneurs who are focused on solving the complex, intractable problems that affect millions,” said 1776 cofounder Donna Harris. “More than just a competition, the Challenge Cup is a global movement to help identify the most promising startups and give them an opportunity to share their vision on a global stage. We can’t wait to see what Trinidad and Tobago and the other Caribbean nations have to offer.”
Challenge Cup participants throughout the world compete for $1 million in prizes as well as the chance to connect with the investors, customers, media and others that can help them succeed on a global scale. Arlene Graham, President and Founder of Caribbean Returning Nationals Foundation said, “The Caribbean region has a wealth of knowledge and resources that need to be further explored and embraced.
This can be done by fostering strong connections between the Caribbean region and the diaspora. 1776 in collaboration with Caribbean Returning Nationals Foundation will afford entrepreneurs this opportunity by encouraging intellectual and entrepreneurial exchanges through innovation, creativity and best practices. “No man is an island”, therefore we must be willing to strengthen our local industries by tapping into the expertise of both Caribbean nationals and global partners.
This challenge will change the way we view the Caribbean. We will become more than a vacation spot, but rather, the Caribbean region will be transformed into a commercial hub with budding entrepreneurs and will be considered one of the birthplaces of innovation in the 21st century.”
In addition to the Caribbean, Challenge Cup 2016 will take place in more than 50 cities around the world, ranging from traditional startup hubs to emerging cities. Collectively, the cities will select 135 startups to participate in 9 regional competitions—Eastern North America, Eastern Mediterranean/Europe, Africa, Western North America, Western Europe, Eastern Asia, Latin America, Middle East/North Africa, and India/SE Asia/Oceania—during which the field will be winnowed down to 45 startup competitors. These 45 regional winners will join 45 additional wildcard slots to compete for $1 million in cash prizes and funding at the global finals in Washington, D.C. in June 2016 during 1776’s Challenge Festival, a weeklong festival in June 2016 exploring innovation in regulated markets. During the Challenge Festival, these startups will also have an opportunity to access the business insights, coveted connections and sophisticated expertise they most need to grow and scale.
Prizes. The three Winning Startups from the Caribbean will receive:
Free travel (hotel & airfare) to New York City in March 2016 to participate in Challenge Cup Regional event;
A small cash prize for each Winning Startup to help cover administrative and operational expenses of preparing to present to a professional audience;
Promotion of startup through social media, articles/interviews, and coverage from 1776 media partners;
Structured professional development workshops leading up to NYC event from CRN mentors, including, among others, a successful Caribbean tech entrepreneur, a Caribbean national living in the USA with a Ph.D. who has served as a director at a leading healthcare research institution, and a prominent corporate lawyer licensed in the USA and Caribbean with decades of legal experience;
One-on-one meeting with members of 1776 senior team for feedback and advice, and facilitated meetings with potential business partners; and
For startups that succeed in NYC, the Global Finals in Washington DC offers a week of tailored workshops and personalized meetings with customers, partners, and investors, along with cash prizes and equity investment opportunities.
Judge Criteria. Judges will evaluate companies based on the following: Size of market opportunity;
Product solves a problem for a particular target customer;
Strong distribution plan within regulated industry;
Capital efficient business;
Clear revenue model;
Takes advantage of market opportunity or compelling event that changes industry dynamics; and Small but cross-functional team.
To power Challenge Cup 2016, 1776 is partnering with two unique organizations whose combined reach will enable the Challenge Cup to be unlike any other global program. These two organizations include investment firm Revolution and the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN), which works on the ground in 150 countries to advance entrepreneurship around the world. On top of that, the Caribbean Returning Nationals® Foundation created a coalition of private Caribbean companies and governmental agencies to support the effort.
This is the third year of the Challenge Cup, following two enormously successful rounds that resulted in 1776 investments in several startups from around the world. This is the first time that the Caribbean will be formally included. The winner of the inaugural Challenge Cup was HandUp, a groundbreaking platform based in San Francisco that matches specific online donors to homeless people in need. The winner of Challenge Cup 2015 was Twiga Foods, a company that has created a market solution to solve the problem of rising food prices across Africa and is based in Nairobi—proving that tomorrow’s highly scalable success stories can and will come from all over the globe.
ABOUT 1776: 1776 is a global incubator and seed fund that finds promising startups focused on solving the world’s most fundamental challenges and helps engineer their success. By creating a global community of startups, mentors, partners, and investors, 1776 is proving that its unique approach to incubation can create a sustained cycle of innovation that connects existing enterprises, corporations, and government entities to the startups that are solving the world’s biggest problems.
ABOUT CRN: The Caribbean Returning Nationals Foundation (CRN) is a grassroots nonprofit established to support economic development in the Caribbean and reverse the effects of the brain drain by reinvesting financial and human capital from the diaspora back into the region.
Sample of Startups that will be presenting:
Based in Saint Lucia, EcoCarib is a green energy savings company whose vision is to empower the people of St. Lucia and other Caribbean Small Island Developing States to take full control of their energy by using renewable and energy efficient technologies.
Based in Jamaica, Revofarm weather and agronomic data delivers agricultural intelligence empowering farmers to make daily, field-level decisions based on evidence, not from generic weather sources and guesswork.
Based in Barbados, MediRevu is a mobile patient engagement platform that helps doctors manage the conditions of patients living with chronic diseases by sending treatment plans to patient’s mobile devices, remotely monitoring patient conditions and tracking patient compliance via an online dashboard.
Based in Trinidad and Tobago, Radial is on a mission to make you dance, smile and sing to Soca Music (getradial.com).
For more information visit www.caribbeanreturningnationals.org/challenge or 1776.vc/challenge-cup.