Jamaican wins IDB award for ‘Startup with the Most Growth Potential’

A Jamaican national has won the Inter-American Development Bank’s (IDB) award for “Startup with the Most Growth Potential.”

The Washington-based financial institution said on Monday that Dwayne Campbell from BookFusion was the only Caribbean national to cop an award, as the bank celebrated the third “Venture Night,” featuring 12 startups from Latin America and the Caribbean.

The award to the “Startup with the Most Growth Potential” was given by Latam Startups to Campbell.

BookFusion is an open global eBook platform for publishers and readers in the Caribbean.

Demand Solutions Ideas for Improving Lives – the most important innovation event of the IDB – closed with a “Venture Night”, at which 12 startups from Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Guatemala, Jamaica, and Mexico participated, the IDB said.

Ilana Milkes, co-founder of the Colombian startup Nativo Digital, won the top prize of US$30,000 for being the Most Innovative Startup with Development Impact. Nativo Digital teaches teenagers and children how to code, the IDB said.

Milkes also won the Media for Social Impact Award, given by the PVBLIC Foundation and the award by Festival El Dorado to participate in the Festival of Colombian Creativity.

The IDB said the entrepreneurs pitched their startups’ innovations to an audience of more than 300 people and a jury composed of leading specialists, including the Young Americas Business Trust of the Organization of American States (OAS), Latam Startups, TechSampa, The Global Good Fund, Nós 8, Creative Startups, INDEX, Grupo Cisneros, the City of Buenos Aires’ Ministry of Modernization, Innovation and Technology, Creative Business Cup and IDB Group specialists.

The startups were selected from over 500 candidates “to showcase their innovative products and services at the one-day Demand Solutions event, which is designed to connect startups with investors, mentors and thought leaders,” the IDB said.

It said the selected startups came to Demand Solutions here, thanks to a newly-forged partnership with Copa Airlines.

Other awards included: The Young Americas Business Trust of the OAS awarded two startups with the Highest Potential for Global Impact a scholarship to participate in an international course at the Golda Meir Training Center in Israel.

One of the scholarships went to Crista Núñez from Didart (Guatemala), a methodology that uses craft making kits to teach children culture and ethnic heritage with hands on activities, augmented reality and original materials, the IDB said.

It said the second scholarship was won by Camilo Lucero from Lorapp (Colombia), a platform that allows college students to rent digital text book chapters to counter piracy from photocopies.

Camilo Lucero also won the recognition to the Startup with the Most Social Impact awarded by the Global Good Fund; the El Dorado Award to participate in the Festival of Colombian Creativity, and the People’s Choice Award, as the audience’s favorite startup.

The IDB said the Going Global Award went to Carlos Mondragón of Kernaia (Mexico), a platform for the collaborative production of creative content in indigenous languages, like movies, games, and books. The prize was awarded by Creative Startups.

Alex Angelini from Badabada (Brazil) pitched along with his puppet Melvis and won the award for Most Creative Startup with Development Impact, receiving a $15,000 prize awarded by the IDB. Badabada is a music education TV Show for children from 0-5 years old.

The TechSampa Brazil Award, was given by Tech Sampa Sao Paulo Business to Carla Zeltzer from the startup Fazgame (Brazil).

Fazgame also won the award for the Most Disruptive Startup, given by Nós 8, and recognition for the Best Pitch with a US$7,000 prize by the IDB. Fazgame is a software that allows students to create educational games without needing to know how to code, the IDB said.

Two additional partners that joined Demand Solutions’ Venture Night were Washington-based Startup Incubator 1776 and Microsoft, awarding a Surface Pro to the top three winners.

This was the fourth year that the IDB has organized Demand Solutions and the third year of Venture Night in partnership with the Blum Center, “part of an effort to encourage out-of-the-box thinking to promote equitable economic development and growth in Latin America and the Caribbean,” the IDB said.

It said this edition of Demand Solutions focused on the transformative potential of the creative and cultural industries.

The next edition of Demand Solutions and Venture Night will take place on Nov. 15 and 16, 2016 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

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