Innovation On Display At UTech/Sagicor Smart Society Challenge

LOOP Jamaica June 24, 2021

Via LOOP Jamaica 

Young inventors from the University of Technology (UTech), Jamaica displayed their prowess and ingenuity recently when they vied for the top award in the Sagicor Innovation Lab Smart Society Innovation Challenge.

The final pitch for the challenge was held on Tuesday, June 8 at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel. 

Vying for the grand prize of $500,000, five teams – Patty Shop, Young Innovators, JamDev, Kimset and LifeCash – comprising students from various faculties at UTech, Jamaica demonstrated technological solutions spanning the financial services, education, and real estate industries to a panel of seven judges, which included Sagicor and Utech, Jamaica representatives. 

Following an intense round of presentations, team LifeCash, was selected winner of the competition for their pitch of a mobile wallet, LifeCash, that would contribute to the further digitisation of the financial sector. The team of students from the Faculty of Engineering and Computing at UTech, Jamaica – Karla Capote-Bustamante, Reinaldo Pino, Razzio Hall, Chadan Huggup, and Rumone Anderson – were elated to be selected as winners and said they are looking forward to launching their company. 

“We are very happy and excited. We came here with a winning mindset and that is what we achieved,” Karla Capote-Bustamante, a final year Computer Science student at UTech, Jamaica said. She stated that the win will further advance their plans to start their own company and launch the life-changing application.

Capote-Bustamante, in expressing her excitement about winning the competition, said the team worked tirelessly in the past few months to develop the contactless payment application that would create a solution for individuals and businesses operators in need of a reliable and safe payment option. She lauded Sagicor and Utech, Jamaica for creating such a platform that provided them the opportunity to be able to innovate and contribute to the advancement of society.  

“We are very happy about this victory and are grateful to have had this opportunity. Jamaica keep looking out for LifeCash.” she said.

Team Young Innovators walked away as second-place winners for their pitch of “Jamart” - an online market for local micro and small business operators to sell their products; while team JamDev was announced as third place winners for their career networking application, “Workbite” that connects skilled workers with potential clients. The second and third place winners were awarded $250,000 and $100,000 respectively. Team Kismet, which pitched a real estate application, was awarded the Social Media award of $50,000, for receiving over 500 likes on their posts. 

The second-year running, the Smart Society Innovation Challenge was put on by the Sagicor Innovation Lab, which was developed out of a Memorandum of Understanding signed between Sagicor and the University of Technology, Jamaica in 2019 for cooperation on research and information sharing on Information Communication Technology (ICT) initiatives.

This year’s staging saw a total of 13 teams with 43 students making submissions for their innovative ideas spanning various industries.

Andrew Burke, Vice President – Innovation, Assurance and Projects, Sagicor Group Jamaica lauded the students for their contribution in providing innovative solutions that will improve society and propel Jamaica forward through digital and technological advancements.

“Congratulations to the winning team, LifeCash. The team made a great pitch and I can’t wait to see them move it from the development phase and launch on the market. Their strong performance and that of all the teams who participated in the Challenge underscores the importance of such initiatives, especially in a post-pandemic world. I am very excited to see that COVID has not stifled innovation in Jamaica,” he said. 

Meanwhile, Dr Andrew Isaacs, Associate Professor and Vice Dean in the Faculty of Engineering and Computing encouraged the students to continue in their quest to create an improved society through technology and lauded stakeholders for providing a facilitative environment for the students. 

“The Sagicor Innovation Lab at the UTECH, Jamaica is an important entity which allows government, academia and industry to move ideas to product. The vehicle of the Innovation Challenge has transported students who may otherwise be engaged to find a new, improved and reimagined solution for our society,” he said.