THE inaugural staging of the i3: Innovation, Ideas, Ingenuity High School Competition concluded recently at the Mona Visitors' Lodge, with a well-received and seamlessly executed business pitch forum.
The event — produced by The Business Lab in conjunction with event and production company, Knotts Landings -- was the final hurrah for the students from 10 schools, who had been selected to showcase their innovative ideas with beautifully constructed booths and a 10-minute business pitch.
The booths were outfitted with brochures, projectors and even prototypes of the inventions which ranged from a "smart" supermarket trolley, a multi-purpose fan, a shoe with multiple attachments and a mobile app for ordering lunch, to a four compartment cooking device. The attendees at the event could be heard marvelling at the innovativeness of the schools and the production of their booths.
The keynote speaker was Joel Sadler, Stanford University lecturer and co-inventor of Jaipur-Knee, which was listed on Time Magazine's Top 100 Inventions of 2009.
Sadler walked the audience through the stages of the development of his invention and how his prototype was made of cardboard just like the ones present at the event. He encouraged the contestants to continue their fantastic work and mused at the possibilities that could develop from a competition such as this one.
The outcome of the competition was based on three different components consisting of the student's original submission, their business plans and their business pitches. The business plans and pitches were judged by a panel of five esteemed judges consisting of GraceKennedy executive chairman, Douglas Orane; President of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica Joseph Matalon; assistant general manager for small and medium enterprises at NCB, Bernadette Barrows; chairman of the Inventors/Innovators Association, Hawthorne Smith; and inventor and Stanford University lecturer, Joel Sadler.
After much deliberation, the judges chose Campion College's 'Order Pro' entry as the top idea, just edging out May Day High School's double entries, 'The Barcode Trolley' and the 'Electric Conservator', which rounded out the top three.
The two top schools were awarded a host of prizes, which included smart phones, tablet computers, scholarships and were informed that they would be awarded booth spaces at the Jamaica Business Development Corporation's Expo, as well as Jamaica Intellectual Property Office's annual expo.
The Business Lab also pledged to work with the finalists in developing their products into viable businesses and providing support in any other areas.
The Development Bank of Jamaica was a special sponsor of the final event and was especially instrumental in opening the possibility of venture capital or angel investment in these idea submissions.