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Jamaica is truly a GREAT place to build a startup, but most of the early-stage entrepreneurs we speak to are not aware of the local resources that are available to help them.

With applications for the Jamaica Founder Institute now open, we are excited to release the Kingston Startup Ecosystem Canvas, which is currently in Draft v1 below! It was developed by the Jamaica Founder Institute and local leaders Bianca Welds and Stacey-Ann Wilson.

This is just a DRAFT, and while we spent many hours on this research, more input is needed. Please leave your comments on this collaborative Google document to help us complete the list. There are definitely omissions on this current version. 

Are you looking to build a startup in Kingston? Then apply to the Jamaica Founder Institute today!

Text version included below, for ease of searching:

Startup Stages

There is no one right way to build a technology company, but for the sake of simplicity we have outlined a basic, common, sequential framework.

1. Idea Stage

This is where new entrepreneurs get inspired, learn best practices, develop skills, validate ideas, and begin to build their team and product.

A. Inspire

  • Startup Media: Centralized local information, listings, and news. (i.e. startup blogs/ publications/ lists/ FB groups/ newsletters, Startup Digest)
    1. Silicon Caribe
    2. Startup Digest Caribbean
    3. The Rebel Entrepreneur
  • Inspirational Events: Open, inclusive, beginner startup events (i.e. Startup Weekend, idea fairs, and inspirational meetups)
    1. CanEx Jamaica
    2. Converge
    3. Global Entrepreneurship Week Jamaica

B. Educate

  • Best Practices: Beginner knowledge-sharing events. (i.e. beginner events that serve to educate more than inspire, like 1 Million Cups, Startup Grind, Startup Founder 101, etc).
    1. Digital Marketing for Businesses in Jamaica
    2. Jamaica's Small Business Meetup
    3. Kingston Project Management Meetup
    4. Kingston WordPress Meetup
    5. Startup Founder 101 Jamaica
    6. StartupGrind Kingston
  • Training & Feedback: Skill & Idea development. (Ex. bootcamps and comprehensive training programs, like Founder Institute, General Assembly, Lean Startup Machine, code camps, etc)
    1. Caribbean GreenTech Startup Bootcamp
    2. Docker Jamaica Meetup
    3. Founder Institute
    4. Jamaica Startup Pitch Bootcamp
    5. Kingston Agile Meetup
    6. Kingston Salesforce Developer Group
    7. PythonJamaica
    8. Women Who Code Kingston

C. Validate

  • Team Formation: Resources for teaming up. (i.e. events or other resources that facilitate early-stage recruitment and cofounder matching)
    1. CoFoundersLab
    2. Jamaica Youth Business Trust
    3. Women Entrepreneurs Network of the Caribbean
    4. Women Innovators Network in the Caribbean
    5. Young Entrepreneurs Association Jamaica
  • Build First Product: Hackathons & resources to build. (i.e. hackathons and other builder-focused events and resources)
    1. Coders of the Caribbean
    2. #HackAgainstHunger
    3. Girls in ICT Day Caribbean Hackathon
    4. Hacking Generation Y
    5. JunkSion X Labs
    6. QualityHacks

2. Launch Stage

In this stage, entrepreneurs establish and formalize the company, develop the product, get feedback from customers, and prepare for the next step.

A. Start

  • Establish: Law firms & banks for startups
    1. Citibank
    2. Dentons
    3. DunnCox
    4. FirstCaribbean International Bank
    5. First Global Bank Limited
    6. Foga Daley Attorneys-at Law
    7. Hamilton, Miller & Birthisel
    8. Jamaica National Small Business Loans
    9. JMMB Bank
    10. JN Bank
    11. Marc Francis Ramsay and Company
    12. Myers Fletcher & Gordon
    13. National Commercial Bank
    14. Sagicor Bank
    15. Scotiabank
    16. Scott Bhoorasingh & Bonnick
  • Workspace: Co-working and flexible workspaces (note: “official” office space goes in 3.1.a. Infrastructure)
    1. BeauVilla CoLiving and CoWorking Jamaica
    2. CoworkJA
    3. Idea Lab Jamaica
    4. The Hub Coworking

B. Develop

  • Formalize: Accounting, development and HR for early-stage startups.  
    1. ABTAX Limited
    2. Apps Design Jamaica
    3. BDO
    4. Blitz Web Design
    5. Bogle and Company
    6. Caribbean HR Solutions
    7. Digita Global Marketing
    8. Gilbert Thompson & Company
    9. HR Outsourcing Solutions
    10. Ja++ Web Design & Development
    11. Jamaica App Factory
    12. Panmedia
    13. ThinkBrite Solutions Limited
    14. Think Interactive
    15. UNISOL Business Services
    16. Xclusive Tech Jamaica
  • Prepare for Seed: Incubators and advanced mentorship. (i.e. advanced knowledge sharing, later stage events and resources for startup TEAMS, Startup Next, etc)
    1. Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship
    2. Caribbean Climate Innovation Center Innovation Lab
    3. Idea Lab Jamaica
    4. JGX Labs
    5. PitchIT Caribbean
    6. SlashRoots Foundation

C. Launch

  • Seed Accelerators: Seed funding mentor programs (Techstars-style programs that provide funding)
    1. Digital Startup Accelerator
    2. Idea Lab Jamaica
    3. JBDC Accelerator Programme
    4. Launchit GreenTech Accelerator
    5. SUJ Accelerator
  • Pitch & Demo: Show local startups for investment (i.e. demo days for companies seeking seed investment)
    1. Creative Business Cup Jamaica
    2. Diamond Challenge
    3. Jamaica Founder Hotseat: Pitch Your Idea to Kingston Startup Experts
    4. PitchIT Caribbean Challenge

3. Growth Stage

Here, a startup proves their utility, receives recognition, and scales up. This usually requires funding, angels, VCs, and ways to connect them to startups.

A. Recognition

  • Investor Networking:  Connect professional investors with founders. (i.e. events or groups that facilitate connections with professional investors)
    1. Alpha Angels
    2. Caribbean Angel Investment Network
    3. FirstAngelsJA
    4. Jamaica Founder Institute Graduate Showcase & Networking Event
    5. Jamaica Investment Forum
    6. Regional Angel Investment Network
    7. TechBeach
  • Major Media: Mainstream local business press. (i.e. major local or regional publications that frequently champion local businesses)
    1. Business View Caribbean
    2. Caribbean Entrepreneur
    3. Jamaica Gleaner
    4. Jamaica Observer
    5. Loop Jamaica
    6. RJR News
    7. Television Jamaica

B. Funding

  • Angels / Micro-VCs: Seed-stage investors
    1. Drew Gray
    2. Lisandra Rickards
    3. Mandeep Birdi
    4. Melanie Subratie
    5. Sandra A. C. Glasgow
    6. Wayne Sutherland
  • Venture Capitalists: Series A and beyond
    1. Caribbean Private Equity Partners
    2. devlabs
    3. Jamaica Venture Capital Programme
    4. Norbrook Equity Partners
    5. SSL Ventures

C. Growth

  • Infrastructure: Office space, HR, local business insurance. (i.e. office space/ HR/ insurance providers for capital-rich companies to grow and scale)
    1. Advantage General
    2. Coldwell Banker
    3. Doorways Jamaica Realty
    4. Galaxy Professional Services
    5. Great People Solutions
    6. Guardian Group
    7. HRM Options
    8. JN General Insurance
    9. Keller Williams Jamaica
    10. LoopNet
    11. Property Shop Jamaica
    12. RE/MAX
    13. Regus
    14. Sagicor Group Jamaica - Insurance
    15. The Insurance Company of The West Indies
  • Expansion: Growth accelerators/consultants. (i.e. programs and business consultants for capital-rich companies to grow and scale)
    1. Aon
    2. Crowe Horwath
    3. Ernst and Young
    4. Expand Management Consulting Ltd.
    5. Fujitsu
    6. Grant Thornton
    7. KPMG
    8. Lumin Consulting
    9. PwC
    10. Symptai Consulting Ltd.
    11. Visio HQ

4. Success Stories

Successful homegrown companies that have raised significant institutional funding, employ a large workforce, or have achieved liquidity.

    1. Amber Connect
    2. Daily Meeting
    3. Digicel Group
    4. EduFocal
    5. EntertainMedz
    6. Jamaican Teas
    7. JOZU
    8. Medialinkers
    9. mkMob
    10. Paymaster
    11. Spatial Innovision
    12. Transcel Inc.
    13. Ultreya Logistics


To facilitate the steps, every ecosystem needs strong supporters.

1. Evangelists

Successful local founders who lead the ecosystem & frequently mentor newbies.

    1. A. Cecile Watson
    2. Akua Walters
    3. Alicia Lyttle
    4. Ative Dennis
    5. Bevon King
    6. Bianca Welds
    7. Bryan Kane
    8. Christopher Reckord
    9. Dave DaCosta
    10. Dennis Jones
    11. Dionne C. Powell-Cole
    12. Dmitri Dawkins
    13. Francis Wade
    14. Ghaffar Ellis
    15. Gordon Swaby
    16. Heneka Watkis-Porter
    17. Ingrid Riley
    18. Janice McLeod
    19. Jermaine Henry
    20. Joseph Saulter
    21. Kemal Brown
    22. Lisa Lake
    23. Lisandra Rickards
    24. Lloyd Laing
    25. Mannin Marsh
    26. Melarka Williams
    27. Mike Campbell
    28. Neil H. Lawrence
    29. Omar Samuels
    30. Philip Armstrong
    31. Rory-Craig Walker
    32. Saffrey Brown
    33. Shamoy Hajare
    34. Tyrone Wilson
    35. Valrie Grant
    36. Winston Wilkins

2. Government

Public organizations that facilitate local economic development (ex. Start with the chamber of commerce, “Invest in XXX”, “Economic Ministry of XXX” , “Innovation”, R&D, etc)

    1. AMCHAM Jamaica
    2. Entrepreneurship Program for Innovation in the Caribbean
    3. IGNITE - Development Bank of Jamaica
    4. Jamaica Business Development Corporation
    5. Jamaica Chamber of Commerce
    6. Jamaica Social Investment Fund
    7. JAMPRO
    8. Ministry of Science, Energy and Technology
    9. Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce & Industries
    10. MSMEs - MICAF
    11. National Commission on Science & Technology
    12. Negril Chamber of Commerce
    13. Start Up Jamaica

3. Talent

Major local business or tech universities and employers that attract and retain local talent.

  • Local Universities (universities with prominent technical or business programs)
    1. Northern Caribbean University
    2. The Moneague College
    3. University of Technology - Jamaica
    4. University of the Commonwealth Caribbean
    5. University of the West Indies
  • Local Employers (Major technical employers, like Microsoft or Google or large local companies, with large local offices, “major technology companies in XX”)
    1. Bibo Global Opportunity Inc.
    2. Cable & Wireless Communications
    3. Conduent
    4. Digicel Group
    5. Ericsson
    6. Fujitsu
    7. Ibex
    8. IBM
    9. Medullan
    10. Microsoft
    11. Sutherland Global Services
    12. Vistaprint
    13. Xerox


*  *  *

Learn more about the Startup Ecosystem Canvas here, and leave us your thoughts on the Jamaica Canvas on this collaborative Google document (This is just a DRAFT, and more input is needed!)

Are you looking to build a startup in Kingston? Then apply to the Jamaica Founder Institute today

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