THE BAHAMAS-BASED Kanoo Innovation Hub is searching for local entrepreneurs, who will receive technical support and training to develop and grow technology-based businesses.
The hub is an innovation accelerator designed in conjunction with Draper University, a leading authority on acceleration programmes in Silicon Valley, United States.
Kanoo accelerates start-ups by equipping participants with the tools, techniques, and funding to identify problems and generate innovative solutions.
Speaking recently on the Jamaica Information Service (JIS) online discussion programme, ‘Studio 58A’, co-founder of the hub, Davina Bain, said successful applicants will be trained over several weeks to convert their ideas into what she termed as ‘minimum viable products’.
The deadline for submissions is November 15, and applicants using the sign-up code – ‘Studio 58A’ – will be prioritised during the selection process. Interested persons can visit kanooinnovationhub.com for application requirements.
“We’ve created a bridge straight to Silicon Valley with Draper University to tap into their network of venture capitalists. It is also a way for entrepreneurs across the Caribbean to connect and share ideas in one ecosystem, to ensure businesses can scale within the region before expanding globally,” Bain said.
She added that the organisation is focused on supporting entrepreneurs with innovative ideas who use technology to solve problems or build on solutions that can be applied in the region.
“We have three levels in this progressive programming. You have the initial cohort, that’s for two weeks. In February, we [will] have level two, which is a pre-accelerator; that will happen for four weeks. The top 30 persons out of the programme will matriculate into that, and then the top 10 persons will move on to an immersion programme in Silicon Valley,” Bain explained further.
Head of partnerships and business development at Draper University, Khadija Ghazi, said the training sessions are conducted by other entrepreneurs who have built businesses in the technology industry.
“We only bring in entrepreneurs, people who have built, people who have pivoted, people who have failed, and people who have raised funding that are delivering the content. We also have Discord groups, where discussions take place, and you will also be surrounded by other entrepreneurs sharing ideas about what they are working on,” Ghazi said.
She added that once the training is completed, entrepreneurs will also become part of a wider ecosystem to receive mentorship and other forms of support.
“The thing I appreciate the most [is], it’s not a ‘chop’ after two weeks. You’ll become a part of the largest entrepreneurial ecosystems in the world. You learn something that you were not able to apply? You come back for advisory, mentorship or funding [support, and] you’ll continue to be part of this ecosystem,” Ghazi explained.