Caribbean entrepreneurs are invited to apply for 200 contest spots in a new business accelerator for founders, developers and business innovators. With the official launch of the Kanoo Innovation Hub Tuesday night in the Bahamas, regional entrepreneurs will have direct access to a multi-billion dollar global network of investors.
“We are dedicated to making innovation a cultural change in the Caribbean. Global ideas require access to global investors, global customers and global networks. The Kanoo Innovation Hub is a program built just for us, and we’re proud to provide access to Caribbean innovators,” said co-founder Davinia Bain.
Bain explained that innovators will have the opportunity to develop, scale and fund their ideas with the guidance of the hub and its partners. The Kanoo Innovation Hub is a joint venture between leading Caribbean fintech companies Crypto Isle and Kanoo Pays in partnership with Draper University, a leading venture capital network in Silicon Valley. The Business Accelerator has three core programs that provide participants with the tools, techniques and funding to lead and innovate next-generation global solutions.
Hub co-founder Nicholas Rees said the first phase of the process is to find 200 innovators with the best ideas to enroll in the start-up innovation program. Applications are possible until November 15th. Each stage of the ongoing process becomes more competitive, culminating in 10 Caribbean entrepreneurs earning a guaranteed spot on Draper University’s highly competitive immersion experience in Silicon Valley. There they will face a global network of investors and access seed capital ranging from $250,000 to $3 million.
Simplified Lending, a Bahamian financial institution known for its business-friendly lending, is one of the first corporate participants to sign up. Corporate innovators can invest in select employees to incubate innovation externally without the weight penalties of corporate inertia.
“Our goal is to find innovative Caribbean founders, developers and companies and put them on the road to success. We aim to provide funding and mentoring throughout their business development from inception to exit,” said Rees.
Seasoned Business Builders The Hub brings together seasoned investors including Draper University, known for investing in more than 34 unicorn companies and at least six rhino companies.
Asra Nadeem, CEO of Draper University said: “At Draper University we recognize the immense potential of Caribbean innovators. Silicon Valley is the prime contender for technology and blockchain innovation. We look forward to attracting founders, developers and business innovators from across the region.”
The partners in the joint venture also have a wealth of experience in building entrepreneurial ecosystems and startups. Bain recently retired from her position as founding executive director of the Access Accelerator Small Business Development Center in the Bahamas. She was responsible for overseeing the disbursement of more than BSD$70 million to 1,900 clients across 40 verticals and 15 Bahamas. Rees is Chairman and Co-Founder of Kanoo Pays, the world’s first licensed payment institution to achieve integration, interoperability and processing of secure Central Bank Digital Currency (“CBDC”) payments.
Individuals have until November 15 to apply to the hub, which other partners include WrkFlws, a leading blockchain-based business automation platform. The startup innovation program’s top candidate will receive a free $5,000 consultation from the CEO of WrkFlws.