Startup Weekend To Improve Lives - Trinidad and Tobago

    Friday, June 12 - 14, 2015

  1. Overview
  2. Schedule
  3. Speakers
  4. Judges
  5. Coaches and Mentors
  6. Sponsors
  7. Organizing Team
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Startup Weekend To Improve Lives - Trinidad and Tobago

Friday, June 12 - 14, 2015

Friday, June 12 - 14, 2015
Event starts at 6:00 pm

One Woodbrook Place

Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago

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Startup Weekend to Improve Lives

Make an Impact in 54 Hours Have a great idea that will change the world for the better? Startup Weekend to Improve Lives in Trinidad and Tobago is the place to launch it!

Startup Weekend to Improve Lives in Trinidad and Tobago is where you can pitch your idea, form a team, validate your concept, build your product, and present your work to a panel of well-qualified and experienced judges - all in just 54 hours! This event will be co-sponsored by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

The IDB -- through the Demand Solutions Model -- is seeking to foster a culture of innovation in Latin America and the Caribbean that will encourage new approaches towards addressing development challenges, while generating an active dialogue on innovation, creativity, and calculated risk-taking. The IDB’s Demand Solutions Model is based on “Open Innovation” and relies on using internal and external paths and ideas to develop new solutions. Our strategy is to connect every innovation activity into one participative model for all IDB components. The Demand Solutions model is designed to accelerate the process of improving lives.  

The winning Ideas will be awarded the opportunity of becoming part of the REACH Caribbean Innovation Competition (CIC), a regional contest and business start-up accelerator for young entrepreneurs, the CIC will be launched in the summer of 2015. With financing from the IDB’s Regional Public Goods Initiative, the REACH Project is being executed by the University of the West Indies and in partnership with the World Intellectual Property Organization and the Young Americas Business Trust.

Any idea that helps the world to become a better place is welcome! Your concept should improve people’s lives. Your ideas can be focused in presenting a solution around any of these topics and more:
  • Social Change - We belong to a world of opinions and causes. This category focuses on startups that use technology to help improve: social inclusion, people with disabilities, productivity and jobs, and related areas.
  • Cities and Climate Change - It is exciting to live in big cities!, They are full of life and movement 24 hours a day. All facilities are available here: schools, hospitals and malls, museums, cinemas, theatres… But living in a big city also has some challenges. This category focuses on startups that use technology to help improve: road safety, public transportation, drone technology, climate change adaptation or mitigation, tourism, housing, environmental protection, and related areas.
  • Health and Wellness - Health is one of the most important elements for enjoying great quality of life. However Latin America and the Caribbean are threatened by one of the greatest epidemics of the 21st century, obesity. Startups in this category focus on the use of technology to reduce: obesity, diabetes, increase wellness in general, and related healthy living areas.
  • Education and Open Knowledge - Education is in a reaching stage of reinvention where open data and technology will play an important role in the schools of the future. Startups in this category use or have developed technology to improve: learning processes, teacher training, educational practices, and related areas..
  • Government and Citizen Participation - Crime and violence are affecting the lives of millions of people in Latin America and the Caribbean. This category must focus on startups that use technology to help improve: crime reduction or prevention, e- government capabilities, citizen participation, civil registration, identity, and more.
  • Gaming for Social Good - More than 14.9 million Latin American and Caribbean people are gamers, and 40% of users play social games.This category must focus on startups that use, data and technology to help improve quality of life through gaming.
  • Technology in Financial Services - Financial services are essential to facilitate access to better opportunities. This category must focus on startups that use technology to help improve: access to financial services, mobile apps for small and medium enterprises, financial education, online payment methods, and related areas.

*This includes all food, snacks and drinks over the weekend! We've got you covered, all you need to do is focus on building great startups! ;-)
Early Bird Tickets 
- $400TTD / $63USD (ends midnight on May 31st 2015)
Regular Tickets -
$500TTD / $79USD 

Get in contact with us via ;
Email :
Phone: (868) 308-3865 - Gerard or (868) 774-4515 Ashmini
Official Hashtag : #SWTT

About Startup Weekend: Startup Weekend is a global grassroots movement of active and empowered entrepreneurs who are learning the basics of founding startups and launching successful ventures. It is the world’s largest community of passionate entrepreneurs, with events in over 100 countries and 600 cities around the world. From Mongolia to South Africa to London to Brazil, people around the globe are coming together for weekend-long workshops to pitch ideas, form teams, and start companies.  

All Startup Weekend events follow the same basic model: anyone is welcome to pitch their startup idea and to receive feedback from their peers. Teams organically form around the top ideas and then it is a 54 hour frenzy of business model creation, coding, designing, and market validation. The weekends culminate with presentations in front of local entrepreneurial leaders with another opportunity for critical feedback.  

Whether entrepreneurs establish companies, find a co-founder, meet someone new, or learn a skill far outside their usual 9-to-5 routine, every participant is guaranteed to leave the event better prepared to navigate the chaotic but fun world of startups. If you want to put yourself in the shoes of an entrepreneur, register now for the best weekend of your life!

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Friday June 12th

6:00 pm
Arrive at the venue and get checked in

6:30 pm
Dinner & Networking
Eat food, share ideas, practice pitches, get to know fellow participants

7:00 pm
Welcome & Speakers
Review agenda for the weekend and introduce speakers, coaches, and community leaders

7:30 pm
Pitches Start
Optionally line up to give your pitch

8:30 pm
Attendees vote for the top pitches

9:00 pm
Persons who pitched the top ideas get a quick chance to recruit team members based on the skills that they need.

9:30 pm
Begin Work
Start to formalize teams and take an inventory of skills. Be honest, and direct about what resources and skills are needed for the weekend. You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow

Saturday June 13th

8:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

8:30 am
Begin Work
Teams formed and setting up workspace for the weekend

12:00 pm

1:00 pm
After-lunch check-in, status reports, call for help

3:00 pm
Coach Meetings
Coaches help teams one-on-one. They are here to help!

6:30 pm

7:30 pm
After-dinner check-in, status reports, call for help

10:00 pm
Finished for the day. You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow

Sunday June 14th

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

10:00 am
Coaches arrive. Final opportunity to ask questions

12:00 pm

12:30 pm
Coach Meetings
Coaches arrive… ASK QUESTIONS

3:00 pm
Presentation Prep & Tech Check
Final hours of worktime should be focused on perfecting your presentation, tech-check for final presentations also takes place

4:00 pm

4:00 pm
Final Presentations

7:30 pm
Judging & Awards

8:30 pm

9:00 pm
Go Home!


Ministry of Planning and Sustainable Development Trinidad and Tobago

Senator Dr. the Honourable Bhoendradatt Tewarie was appointed as a Government Minister in May 2011. His present title is Minister of Planning and Sustainable Development. Minister Tewarie has served Trinidad and Tobago and the Caribbean region in areas of public policy, public and private sector governance and education. Minister Tewarie also served as the first Chairman of the Council for Competitiveness and Innovation in Trinidad and Tobago. Minister Tewarie was the Chairman of the National Institute of Higher Education, Research and Science and Technology (NIHERST); from 1999 to 2001 he served as the Director of the National Training Agency; as well as Director of the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) from 2001 to 2007. The UWI Institute of Business, now known as the Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of Business was under his leadership as Executive Director from 1992 to 2001, after which Minister Tewarie became the Pro Vice Chancellor and Campus Principal of the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine from the period 2001 to 2007. From 2007 to his appointment as a Government Minister in 2011, Minister Tewarie remained on campus as the Pro Vice Chancellor for Planning and Development for the University as well as founder and Director of the Institute of Critical Thinking. Minister Tewarie has written a number of books and numerous articles on culture, education and development issues as well as producing two documentary films on the novelist and writer V.S. Naipaul.

Event Judges

Country Representative Trinidad and Tobago - IDB

Tomas Bermudez is the country Representative of the Inter-American Development Bank in Trinidad and Tobago. He is responsible for managing the Bank’s sovereign and non sovereign portfolio in the country as well as IDB’s technical assistance initiatives. Previously to this assignment, Mr. Bermudez was the Head of Equity Investments of the Inter-American Investment Corporation an affiliate of the IDB and manager of the IIC-China Equity Fund. Mr. Bermudez was Vice-President of Debt Capital Markets for BBVA Securities in New York in charge of fixed income and syndicated loans transactions in Latin America. He holds a BA and MBA from American University in Washington DC.

Ignacio L. De Leon
Private Sector Development Specialist, Competitiveness and Innovation Divison, IDB

Ignacio L. De Leon is a Private Sector Development specialist in the Competitiveness and Innovation Division (CTI) at the Inter-American Development Bank. He is an international authority on antitrust policy and intellectual property commercialization, with more than 20 years of experience in international antitrust litigation, business arbitration, infrastructure regulation, and access to credit. He was consultant for major international organizations in international development projects involving Latin America, Middle East, South East Asia and Central Asia. He also has written extensively on antitrust policy, intellectual property and entrepreneurship in developing countries. More recently, he founded two successful start-ups in the biotech and digital industries, aiming to the market of public services in the health and personal security industries. He holds a PhD in Laws (University College London); LL.M. (Queen Mary College), and MBA (Universidad Francisco Marroquin).

Kasper Birkeholk Munk
Team Leader, Teknologisk Institut

Kasper is the team leader for Inventor counseling at the Teknologisk Institut. He offers inventor counseling services and screens annually more than 1,200 unique ideas and inventions from Danish citizens and helps to mature the best for licensing agreements between concept gardens and an existing business. His role involves Inspiring, energizing and leading a team of highly passionate, cross-disciplinary and specialized colleagues with the dedicated aim of leveraging the innovative potential of Danish citizens. He is presently training CARIRI staff in providing inventor advisory services.

Derrick Lewis

Derrick Lewis is the founder and managing director of ISLANDpeople, one of the most prominent carnival bands and event management companies in Trinidad & Tobago. Throughout the Caribbean, the ISLANDpeople brand is synonymous with energetic parties, major concerts, unique events and cultural showcases. From the humble beginnings of selling ISLANDpeople t-shirts, Derrick developed ISLANDPeople into a party and events production powerhouse.

With events like Insomnia and Girl Power, ISLANDPeople revolutionised carnival parties in Trinidad and took themed events to the Region. Eventually Derrick and the team expanded the brand to include ISLANDPeople Mas, a sought after mas band with colourful and creative assortments of feathers, colour and detail. 

Debora Cumberbatch
CEO and founder of Tower Industries / Estate 101 / Aqua Fun Park / Just Juiced / Caribbean Natural Juice Manf. Ltd.

Coaches and Mentors

Alejandra Luzardo

Alejandra Luzardo is a Senior Communications Specialist ­ Leading Innovation initiatives and products at the Inter­American Development Bank. She is focused on innovation inside and outside the organization to foster innovation’s ecosystem in Latin America and the Caribbean. She is a Co­Founder and content curator of Demand Solutions, a platform for global innovators focused on inspiring and connecting innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship. With over 20 years of experience in publishing, multimedia, entertainment and technology, Alejandra has built online technologies solutions across a variety of international organizations. She is a founding member of Prodiseño, School of Visual Communication and Design in Caracas, Venezuela. Alejandra holds a Master’s degree in Communication from American University.

Dennis Ramdeen

Dennis is the founder of Pepper Advertising, a leading advertising firm in Trinidad and Tobago. He founded Pepper in 2005 after heading McCann Erickson’s Caribbean operation, and holding senior marketing positions at National Brewing Company (Stag and Heineken), Coca Cola, Carib Brewery, First Citizens, Pizza Hut and KFC. Dennis is also the Chairman of the annual UWI Fete, a co­founder of the Foundation for the Enhancement and Enrichment of Life (FEEL), and the Director, Sagicor Exodus Steel Orchestra. 
His mantra: "Own One Thing"

Georgina Terry

Georgina Terry, FCCA, PMP, GPCC is a business and people development coach with a  difference  –  she  is  a  qualified  accountant,  coach,  change  management consultant, local and international inspirational speaker,  certified Project Management Professional and author of the best selling book ‘The Amazing Race to Entrepreneurial Freedom’.
With over 20 years’ of outstanding results delivery and experience, Georgina uses her skills and knowledge globally to help people achieve previously unrealised business and personal goals. Georgina’s success with, local, regional, international and multi­cultural clients  (e.g.  Trinidad  &  Tobago,  Jamaica,  Canada,  UK  and  West  Africa)  reveals  her exemplary ability to adapt quickly to diverse cultural norms as she works with individuals and organisations to increase and align their passion, performance and profits.
Georgina is the Managing Director of Business & People Development Associates Limited. She is originally from London, England and prior to moving to Trinidad in 2001, she worked for The Economist and PricewaterhouseCoopers. 

Georgina’s purpose in this life is to assist people in living their lives and growing their businesses by desire and design, rather than by default. Georgina says, “I believe, to the core of my being, that when you tap into your passion you will never work again, because work will become PLAY!!”

Kevin Lee-A-Ping

Kevin is a 3­time Startup Weekend participant and winner, and is currently the Director/Founder of three companies ­ E­Sports Caribbean League Limited (from SWTT2), Nafer Corporation Limited, and Rendezvu Entertainment Limited (from SWTT3). Apart from his passion for startups, Kevin is an Insurance Agent for Guardian Life of the Caribbean Limited, and the Chairman of the Youth Advisory Group (YAG).

Andrej Kostresevic
CEO, Nomads

Andrej is the founder of the New Frontier Nomads, a Miami-based lean development company, that partner with startups and help them design, develop and validate innovative mobile products. 

Andrej organizes the South Florida Android Developers and the Miami Lean Startup Circle, and curates the Miami Startup Digest.

Paul Regis
Caribbean Section, Regional Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean, World Intellectual Property Organization

Paul Regis is a Programme Officer in the Caribbean Section, Regional Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and covers Caribbean countries with respect to technical assistance and capacity building.  Prior to joining the Caribbean Section, he held lead responsibilities for planning, monitoring, management and coordination of all the technical assistance and capacity building activities of CARICOM countries as well as forging partnership for facilitating intellectual property for development. Mr. Regis’ professional career with WIPO has spanned more than a decade in the area of the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT).  He then moved on to other Divisions where his duties included promotion of the use of intellectual property in business strategies as well as the networking among developing country (mainly Caribbean) industries, and Research and Development (R&D) sectors for the dissemination of intellectual property best practices. Mr. Regis is the holder of a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from University of Mc Master, Ontario, Canada, and a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA – area of concentration Technology Transfer). From the University of Lausanne, (HEC), Lausanne, Switzerland. After completing his MBA, and prior to joining WIPO, he was a consultant in technology transfer, in the Shipping Division of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, Geneva, Switzerland.

Anna Maria Torres
Lead, YABT

Ana Maria Torres leads the Talent and Innovation Competition of the Americas at the Young Americas Business Trust, the largest hemispheric competition for young entrepreneurs. The competition seeks to identify innovative ideas and business startups and help them develop new sustainable business models. Every year, top social, economic and environmental innovators are identified, receive awards, trained and coached to implement successful business ideas. Prior to her current role, she was working at the Multilateral Investment Fund, part of the Inter-American Development Bank, where she was responsible for the Technologies for Financial Inclusion Program that focused on developing innovative business models to provide financial access to the un-served population in Latin America and the Caribbean. Previously, she led various initiatives on private sector development and financial access in London and she was the Coordinator of the Corporate Social Responsibility Strategy for the Western Hemisphere at the Organization of American States in Washington D.C. She has also served as Adviser for the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Tourism in Colombia where she contributed to the development of the country’s first Entrepreneurship strategy to facilitate financial access to businesses at an early stage.

Anil Ramnanan

Anil Ramnanan is a software developer and entrepreneur with over 20 years in the IT Industry. While working and doing PhD research at the University of the West Indies, he has also been involved in a number of entrepreneurial activities with his latest being founder of the startup HelpQ and co founder of the startup My Beach My Water. In addition to developing mobile applications and doing research in the Internet of Things and Open Data, he tries to bridge academia, business and social enterprises to come up with innovative solutions.

Brevard Nelson
COO and Co-founder of Caribbean Ideas Ltd.

Brevard has a unique blend of marketing and corporate communications talent, web development and IT expertise, seasoned with an entrepreneurial spirit. Before moving into full-time work at Caribbean Ideas Limited, he functioned for over 10 years in various roles within the Guardian Holdings Group, culminating as Corporate Communications Manager in the Group Communications Department.
In his professional career he also served as VP of Branding and Visual Communications on the Board of the International Association of Business Communicators – T&T Chapter, where his white paper on how Caribbean Businesses can add digital media to their marketing mix, was published in IABC’s international, award winning publication, Communication World.
In addition to his professional work, Brevard is passionate about youth empowerment and Caribbean development. He currently serves as the VP, Membership on the board of the St. Mary’s College Past Students’ Union, and was the founding President of the Rotaract club of St. Augustine West.
Brevard completed an Executive Education Programme at the Harvard Business School and holds a Masters Degree in International Marketing Communications from the London Metropolitan University and a Masters in Management from the ESCEM Business School in France. He also holds an undergraduate Business degree from the University of the West Indies.

Gem Bleasdell

From age fteen (15) Gem began doing private graphic design jobs for friends and family members. This introduction caused a yearning for Computer Science, Digital Technology and Virtual Art and Design that followed her through college to graduate school. It was at Carnegie Mellon University that Gem discovered Human Computer Interaction, a eld that married her three loves ­ Computer Science, Graphic Arts and Psychology ­ into Interface Design.
Before nishing her MHI degree, Gem accepted a position at a reputable Software evelopment Company (Outsystems, SA) in Portugal. However, the excitement and art of Europe was not enough to keep her from returning to Trinidad where she started her own company, Global Research and Strategy Planning.

James Hackett

James Hackett is the founder of Lush Kingdom, an illustrator with a career full of creative collaborations from Carnival, to Graphic Design to print media and now Fashion Design where he plans to explore a wide spectrum of expression.
He is a member of the arts collective Zigwa and serves as one of the founding members of the art group called WE DOES DRAW.
Currently James Lectures at the University of Trinidad and Tobago, teaching Design and Technical Illustration.

Jeevan Persad

Jeevan is a Product Designer currently based in the Caribbean region. He received his BSc from The University of the West Indies in Electrical & Computer Engineer and his MSc in Electronic Product Development from the University of Bolton (UK) where he was awarded the Vice Chancellor’s Award. Jeevan has over ten years’ experience working in the area of technology focused product development as both a team member and sole consultant/researcher for clients of varying sizes. Currently his company, FaSoVe Product Design and Development Co. Ltd is focused on helping clients move their ideas successfully through the various phases and on to successful entry into the market place. His past product design experience includes supporting the development of the first electronics steelpan, the creation of low cost educational equipment and the development of consumer electronics products. 

Karen Lee Lum

Karen Lee Lum founded and manages Consultancy Projects Specialists Ltd. and for more than a decade has provided business management services to micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises, business associations and institutional entities in academia and the Agriculture sector. Her focus has been on mobilising resources, coordinating programmes and projects, and developing information products that support tactical and sustained growth.For the past 2 years she has produced the Caribbean Week of Agriculture Climate Change Workshop Report, which discusses global and Caribbean issues and strategies to mitigate the effects climate change and variability within the sector.Karen is a member of the Growing Leaders Foundation Team and is to building an enabling environment for our youth to create, innovate and become socially responsible entrepreneurs and leaders. We are pollinating Social Entrepreneurs in the Caribbean region – Hive.As a Director and Public Relations Officer of Women in Action for the Needy and Destitute (WAND) she is contributing to improving the living conditions, emotional and educational wellness of Trinidad and Tobago’s disenfranchised and at-risk youth, women and elderly.Karen holds an Executive MBA degree (with distinction) from The Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of Business and a BSc degree in Agriculture from the University of the West Indies.Words to live by: “Give freely, build human capacity”

Carver Bacchus

Carver Bacchus is Managing Director of Sustain T&T, a social enterprise producing and exhibiting educational film content in the areas of environment and sustainability. He has over 15 years of professional experience in the areas of Management and Marketing, in both the public and private sectors. He leads Sustain T&T in providing branding, communications and visibility services to agencies with a public education mandate, informing audiences about issues affecting them, like climate change. Green Screen - The Environmental Film Series is Sustain T&T's marquee event, bringing environmentally themed films and discussions to communities in Trinidad and Tobago on an annual basis, for free. Carver holds a BSc in Communications and a Diploma in Film Motion Picture Directing.

Casey Silva

Casey Silva is an Investment Officer in the Financial Markets Division of the Structured and Corporate Finance Department, where he has worked since 2008. His areas of focus include investment analysis and deal structuring and he has worked on successful transactions with US and UK-based financial intermediaries, as well as regional banks in Latin American and the Caribbean.  In 2012, Casey relocated to the Port of Spain in Trinidad & Tobago to focus on Caribbean Private Sector Investment.  Prior to joining IDB, Casey’s gained experience in investment and risk management with Zurich Financial Services in Washington, DC and AIG in Santiago, Chile.  He also served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Haiti from 2003-2004 and the Dominican Republic from 2004-2005.  He holds an M.S. in Finance from Georgia State University, an M.A. in International Relations and Economics from Johns Hopkins University - School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) and a B.S. in Management from Georgia Institute of Technology.

Dhano Mc Nicol
Mission Control, A Big Box of Crayons

A Creative Professional with over twenty years experience in providing effi cient and effective visual communication design solutions.
A passionate, twenty-four hour creative junky. Admirer of sexy typefaces, lover of words and aspiring life long learner. He is also the founder of A BigBox Of Crayons. An online and offline community for creative thinkers + makers in Trinidad & Tobago.
The Regional Creative head of one of the Caribbean’s largest retailers. Where he
contributes to the group’s regional marketing strategy. Also responsible for development of the regional Design Strategy, Conceptualisation and execution of all creative, marketing and advertising communication for the group’s brands. With oversight of the regional and local creative teams and creative processes.
His mantra - Stay Passionate. Keep moving forward.

Robert De Gannes

Robert De Gannes graduated Valedictorian, from St Francis College NYC with a Bachelors of Communications with a concentration in Advertising and PR. He then spent a year in the Big Apple managing up to eight brands working for The Blaq Group, a boutique events and marketing company, before returning to his native T&T.
Robert is currently the Managing Director of Tribal Worldwide. This digital agency is the Caribbean affiliate of a major international network, whose heart is web-based communications.
Robert digs creating an on-line and social media presence and personality for a wide range of clients. He has been doing this for two years, and lovin' every minute of it. The highpoint of his year was winning the ultimate awards in the regional ADDY awards: Best of Show in Interactive for the work on and Gold in Website Category for

Event Sponsors, and Partners

The Startup Weekend To Improve Lives - Trinidad and Tobago team is grateful for the support of local community partners without whom this event would not be possible.
Learn how to become a sponsor here.

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Organizing Team

Techstars Startup Weekend Port of Spain is 100% led by volunteer community leaders.
Learn how to get involved here

  • Gerard
  • Ashmini
  • Kristal
  • Akila
  • Michol
  • Babita
  • Joanna
    Ming Hon
  • Nicole
  • Ariel
  • Josanne
  • Kurt
  • Melissa


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