Break Point seeks to empower Caribbean businesses to take on European markets and introduces them to alternative funding sources such as private investors in the form of venture capitalists and Angel investors. It highlights the journey of dedicated regional businesses and entrepreneurs as they vie to become one of the 12 finalists who will travel to London to make their final pitches to a panel of investors, venture capitalists and distributors.
In April 2012, CARIFORUM firms and entrepreneurs throughout the 15 CARIFORUM Member States had the opportunity to participate in Break Point by first submitting a 2-3 minute video pitch, along with a 1 page executive summary of their business plan and a short application form to help the Agency capture some pertinent company data.
From a list of approximately 60 applicants, 30 firms were shortlisted based on evaluation criteria that spoke to demand, innovation, brand strength, Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) application, speed to market, and management strength. These firms then went through Break Point preparatory sessions in Barbados with coaches/mentors, mostly affiliated with the UWI Cave Hill School of Business. They were provided with tools to improve their presentation skills and received feedback on how to enhance their business pitches and presentations.
Having completed these sessions along with 2 follow up virtual coaching sessions these 30 firms made their business pitches at a regional event in front of a judging panel comprised of successful Caribbean entrepreneurs and business executives. These regional events took place in Jamaica, St. Lucia, and Barbados and firms were selected to present at 1 of these territories based on their geographic location. From these regional events, the judges selected 10 firms to move forward to the final round in London, along with the 2 firms, who emerged as winners at the pilot launch of Break Point during the 7th UK-Caribbean Forum in Grenada in January 2012. These 12 firms were given the ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity to travel to London during Caribbean Export’s “London Engage” the last week of the Olympics to make their final pitches to angel investors, venture capitalists, distributors, etc., and the chance to receive investment, joint ventures, and/or distribution aimed at gaining access to the EU market.
The Break Point series follows the journey of these 30 firms from their initial preparatory sessions at the UWI Cave Hill School of Business, to their regional pitches and the subsequent selection process that followed, all the way to the 12 firms’ final pitches in London.
The 30 Candidates that made it to Round 2 came from 10 different CARIFORUM countries and represented a diverse range of sectors and industries, such as Agro-Processing, Light Manufacturing, Creative Industries, Fashion and Garment, Professional services, and Specialized Tourism.
Break Point is a Caribbean Export initiative under and 10thEuropean Development Fund’s (EDF) Regional Private Sector Development Programme, in partnership with the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) and the United Kingdom Trade and Investment (UKTI) and will be shown on national and regional television stations.