Automotive Arts launches contest for entrepreneurs

No prerequisites required — any person with a truly innovative idea is welcomed to enter the Automotive Arts Entrepreneurship Competition.

The new competition is open to all residents of Barbados who are 18 years or older who are looking for an avenue to develop an idea. At their head office in Wildey, St. Michael this morning, Executive Chairman of Arts Holding Incorporated, Dereck Foster, said it was not limited to any area of business so if an entrant had an idea to start a business to manufacture airplanes or sell fish cakes they would be eligible.

“As long as it is an idea that we think is marketable and we think has a genuine ability to be successful, we are going to be open to it. We have not restricted it to any area whatsoever and we don’t plan to. Tertiary education is not a prerequisite. In fact, zero education is a prerequisite… We recognise that as the competition gets more in depth that some perhaps will need help, and we will help them along the way if we think the idea is worth pursuing.

The format for the overall competition was benchmarked against Wharton Business School and Harvard and Foster said they took concepts from both and married them, while adding their own spin. The first round of competition (concept paper) begins on September 17 and judging takes places September 24. The second round (business plan) will be on October 22 and judging for that will be held on October 29. The final round (revised business plan) will be on November 12, while the five remaining contestants will pitch to the judges on November 15 and 16.

Winners will be announced on November 23. The first prize is $10,000; second $5,000 and third $2,500. Forth placed person will receive $1,500 as well as a free course at the Barbados Institute of Management And Productivity, while fifth place will earn the entrant a $500 gift card and $1,000. Automotive Arts has partnered with the Barbados Entrepreneurs Foundation, Small Business Association, Youth Entrepreneurship Scheme, BIMAP, University of the West Indies Cave Hill and the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation to host the competition.

Automotive Arts was born out of an entrepreneurial spirit and Foster said the main aim of the competition was to be a catalyst to generate a new set of entrepreneur in Barbados.

Chief Executive Officer of Automotive Arts, Doug Armstrong, added that it was “critical” and “very important” to the future of Barbados and more importantly the Caribbean.

Foster noted that people often confused entrepreneurship with enterprising, so for those people interested in the competition his definition was: “I think the entrepreneur has to be passionate enough and committed enough to follow the dream because that perhaps is where a lot of people fall down. It is that they are either not committed enough or believe enough and not willing to put in the effort to make their dreams come true.

“Obviously some dreams are big and bold and we have to be realistic at some point…; although most entrepreneurs would tell you most of the people they spoke to about their dream did not think it was achievable. So it has to be a balance, and that is why we picked entrepreneurs to be judges as oppose to the traditional ways — find an accountant, lawyer, banker. The banker here started a bank, they are not employed by a bank and I think that is the major difference.”

The judges are: Carlton and A-One CEO Andrew Bynoe, Champers CEO Chiryl Newman, Investment Director of Fortress Roger Cave, Deputy Chairman of Cidel Bank, Adrian Meyer, Armstrong as well as Foster. (KC)

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