JAM | Jun 21, 2023

Paul Simpson awards US$100,000 to five Jamaican millennial entrepreneurs

/ Our Today

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Winners in the Pitch Deck Jamaica Competition sharing a moment with executives from Stocks on the Rocks at the offices of Cornerstone in New Kingston on June 8, 2023. (Photo: Contributed)

Five Jamaican business ventures have been awarded with grants totaling US$100,000 in Season 1 of the Stocks on the Rocks (SOTR) Pitch Deck Jamaica competition.

The registered names of these businesses are Chemqualco, Get it Sent, KaDon Music Academy, Will & Tomorrow and Power & Precision Physiotherapy.

Chemqualco is operated by entrepreneur Kimone Knight, while Get it Sent is operated by Toni-Ann Brown-Rattray and Maurice Henry; KaDon Music Enterprise is operated by Kamoy Gordon; Will & Tomorrow is operated by Andre Robb; and Power & Precision Physiotherapy is operated by Omar Brissett and Kareece Brown.    

The owners of these businesses attended the handover ceremony on June 8 at the offices of Cornerstone in New Kingston.

In addition to the grant, each business was sponsored with a one-year free membership by the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ). Wayne Marshall has also committed to supporting the businesses with marketing through his platform, and Bluedot Insights will provide online surveys for the businesses. One Great Studio, through Djuvane, Gina and their team have driven Pitch Deck’s marketing and content creation efforts. Finally, key to this new and innovative pitch competition, Paul Simpson and Stocks on the Rocks have committed to assist with making connections for support services for each business. 

The Pitch Deck Competition was designed and funded by Paul Simpson, CEO of Cornerstone Group, and executed by the Stocks on the Rocks.

Simpson, who committed the US$100,000 collective prize, stated that he was excited to be a part of this initiative and to see millennials in the room at Cornerstone. 

Paul Simpson, founder and CEO of Cornerstone Group

“I’m happy to have founded Pitch Deck with Simon, Marc and the team and do our part in making the average man and woman in Jamaica create impact to build our nation for the future. I’m excited that Marc and Simon are part of this initiative, to see the millennials in the room,” Simpson said.

“The future is theirs and it’s fantastic to know that the company I founded, Cornerstone, and its subsidiary Barita, can be involved with helping the future of a nation with which Pitch Deck, providing a roadmap. I too know how hard it is to start a business, raise capital and I’m happy I can play my part in helping millennials and Gen Zs. Just being a part of this process gives us hope of building the nation from ground up, taking the baton from those who have gone before us and moving Jamaica and the Caribbean from strength to strength,” he said.    

For his part, Johnson said Pitch Deck aims to solve a major problem that almost all entrepreneurs in Jamaica have, that being funding.

Access to capital, particularly burden-free capital, is a regional issue. “Pitch Deck is a new platform through which entrepreneurs can access burden-free capital and the necessary business support services to fast track the growth of their business,” Johnson said.

“It’s been months of competition, many pitches, a lot of good feedback from the judges, Krista Forbes and Marc Gayle, and now, we are elated to see these businesses being provided with more capital and guidance needed for not only their development, but the development of our nation. We believe businesses, such as these five winners, and the over 70 others that applied, are the cornerstone of the Jamaica of tomorrow,” he said.   

Simon Johnson, Simon Johnson-founded Stocks on the Rocks. (Photo: Facebook @BaritaInvestments)

The competition was officially launched on January 4, while Stocks on the Rocks was conceptualised in 2019.

SOTR is a platform designed to create open and inclusive spaces for all to learn how to build and maintain a healthy relationship with their money. SOTR manages a Telegram community with over 2,100 members that engages in frequent discussions about money management, investing and more. SOTR has pioneered grassroots financial literacy programmes across Jamaica and has done literacy presentations to over 2,000 students/parents across Jamaica.


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