Medija Traditions, astudent-entrepreneur team from the University of Technology (UTech), has emerged as the winner of the National Business Model Competition (NBMC), securing a cash prize of $2 million to kickstart their new, innovative healthcare business, as well as J$300,000 for their university’s business school to invest in enhancing its programmes.
The duo, comprising Shasantay Jennings and Shantay Siddo, the winning presentation offering a natural, wound-healing solution in the form of a liquid bandage to a panel of private-sector judges in the final round of the national competition, beating 14 other teams from five universities.
Runners up were SWAZE (first) from The University of the West Indies winning $1 million; Fresh Fuel (second) from The University of the West Indies winning $500,000 and Payalynk (third) from the University of Technology winning $200,000.
Shasantay Jennings, the business’ founder who is also enrolled in UTech’s Marketing programme, said, “We’ve come across other natural bandages on the market. But our product is different in terms of the three components that are addressed – the fast healing, the protection from bacteria, and pain relief. There is no other product on the market that does all three.”
Medija Traditions’ ground-breaking invention is made from organic, native plant ingredients from Jamaica, including activated charcoal, pimento extract, hibiscus plant, and a specially formulated polymer that is designed to adhere to the skin.
Jennings, detailing how she came up with her business idea, said, “It actually came about through thinking about my grandmother who has passed. She usually used a lot of natural plant ingredients to help heal her body. And, it just came to me one day – her remedies were effective but how she used it was very messy for her. She’d have to dry and crush the ingredients, put it on the skin, and then use something to tie it on the skin [so it stays]. And the scent, too, was a problem.”
Still, noting the popularity of using natural ingredients such as plants and herbs for healing in Jamaica, she and Siddo ideated and came up with an adhesive bandage. But after complaints of the bandage falling off too easily and costs to address this being too expensive, the two later pivoted and designed a cost-effective secure liquid bandage.
The National Business Model Competition, which is now in its seventh year, is organised at the local level by the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) through its Boosting Innovation, Growth and Entrepreneurship Ecosystems programme Programme, also known as BIGEE, and the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica.
Financial support this year came from corporate sponsors PanJam Investment, Musson Foundation, Scotiabank Jamaica, Sagicor Jamaica, GK Capital Management, Burger King, Delta Capital Partners and Blueprint Events.
Business modelling, geared at reducing the failure rate of start-up businesses, differs from a static business plan and focuses on assessing customer interactions, then pivoting and changing course based on the lessons learned.
Jamaican universities performed exceptionally well at the 2018 IBMC as Beasc Technologies from Northern Caribbean University won first place bragging rights, the Global Champion trophy and US$30,000. Eco-Structures, representing the University of the West Indies, was awarded second place receiving a cash prize of US$20,000; and Queritel, the third team from Jamaica, placed in the top 10 out of 42 universities worldwide, after a total of five teams from Jamaica’s National Business Model Competition competed on the global stage.
The NBMC was conceived at the DBJ’s first Venture Capital Conference held in September 2013 by Keynote speaker, Paul Ahlstrom of Alta Ventures Group, Utah, US, who, along with Joseph Matalon, offered to fund the prize for the winner if local universities collaborated.
The competition was designed to facilitate young entrepreneurs in taking their business ideas through to operationalization and facilitates access to mentors, coaches and Angel Investors to provide the capital to build their businesses.