Finance Minister Ardwell Irion
PHILIPSBURG--Student entrepreneurs in secondary schools can now apply to participate in the first-ever National Youth Pitch Competition.
Students must work in teams of no more than four students from the same school. Applications close on September 30. Thereafter, a committee will score the applications and the five highest-scoring teams will move on to a six-week accelerator with experts who will coach them and help prepare them for the finals on November 20.
The in-person and online audiences will get to choose their favourite team, which will win NAf. 2,500. The overall winning team will win a grand prize of NAf. 10,000 and an entrepreneurial exchange abroad.
The National Youth Pitch Competition is organised by the Ministry of Finance and Islandpreneur, and was designed to increase financial literacy among the youth, hone their entrepreneurial skills and cultivate innovative thinking while creating a platform for them to share solutions.
All secondary schools have been invited to participate in the National Youth Pitch Competition. On August 31, the Ministry of Finance and Islandpreneur, hosted an information session for school management and teachers to provide additional information and gain feedback. The overall response of the schools has been positive.
Minister of Finance Ardwell Irion gave his opening remarks to the school representatives at the information session. “I truly believe that financial literacy is key to a sustainable future for St. Maarten. Instilling this and key entrepreneurial skills in the youth is critical to achieve this goal. Partnering with Islandpreneur allows us to do so in a dynamic and innovative way,” Irion said.
Islandpreneur founder Ife Badejo is project manager of the National Youth Pitch Competition.
To ensure that the finalists have an equitable opportunity to showcase their ideas and provide a quality pitch, the organisers introduced a six-week accelerator programme. From October 6 to November 10 (Thursdays from 6:00 to 8:00pm), the top five finalists will be coached by experts in preparation for the finals.
Topics such as finance, lean model canvas, customer conversations, how to go to market, how to progress and how to pitch will be covered by some of the island’s leading minds. Successfully completing the accelerator and adhering to the attendance policy is a prerequisite to pitching at the finals.
The pitch finals will take place during Global Entrepreneurship Week on November 20. This event will also be streamed online. In a “Shark Tank” styled setting, each team will have two minutes to pitch and jury panellists will have 10 minutes for questions. Judges will score based on criteria such as creativity, viability, scalability, leadership and presentation. The team with the highest score wins NAf. 10,000 and an entrepreneurial exchange abroad.
The audience, both in-person and streaming audience, will get to vote for their favourite. The team that is deemed the “Crowd Favourite” will win NAf. 2,500.
Organisers are hopeful that this competition will provide the youth with an opportunity to showcase their business ideas and develop their skills. In the long term, this competition is poised to support sustainable economic growth through the development of financial literacy, entrepreneurial skills and innovative solutions. Official partners include the Ministry of Finance and TelEm, the official telecommunications provider.
For more information or to apply, visit
https://nyp22.splashthat.com/ or contact the team at Islandpreneur at