(Extracted from the Jamaica Observer – January 25, 2016)
The three-day Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) Venture Capital Conference to be staged March 7-9, 2016, will provide many opportunities to network and build new local and international acquaintances, says project coordinator, Audrey Richards.
“The upcoming conference will offer insights into venture capital as a growing industry; it will look at global trends, examine the readiness of local businesses and how Jamaican businesses can align themselves to these emerging opportunities,” Richards said in a press statement.
Other topics of interest will include conditionalities that affect a venture capital eco-system and deal flows and where they are likely to come from.
The conference, which will take place at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel, New Kingston, will centre on the theme: “The Power of Smart Capital… expanding the financial landscape, fuelling innovation, driving entrepreneurship”.
“The event is an exciting calendar item for venture capital stakeholders, such as fund managers, entrepreneurs, businesses, investors, investment advisors, policymakers and international development partners,” said Richards.
As with the two previous events, she said, the 2016 conference was being organised by the DBJ and its international development partner, the Inter-American Development Bank’s (IDB) Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), and several local corporate entities.
Following the official opening on March 7, the conference will feature keynote presentations, plenaries, round-table and fireside discussions, as well as networking sessions. March 9 has been set aside for a highly interactive and engaging workshop for entrepreneurs, small and medium-sized businesses and students.
“The activities of the conference promise to be high impact, rich in content, and are geared at informing, educating and engaging the expected participants,” said Richards, who added that online registration began on January 2 at venturecapitaljamaica.com.
Tech entrepreneur and founder of HopStop.com, Chinedu Echeruo, is the keynote presenter at this year’s conference. Echeruo is the founder and CEO of Gigameet.com a cause-based fund-raising and networking platform.
Prior to starting Gigameet, he founded two highly successful US-based Internet companies: Tripology.com, sold to Rand McNally, and now owned by USA Today; and HopStop.com, a website and mobile app for mass-transit routing used in 100 cities throughout the United States and Europe, which was sold to Apple.
Echeruo was named USA’s Black Enterprise Magazine’s “Small Business Innovator of the Year” and was listed in that magazine’s Top 40 under 40.
Prior to his entrepreneurial journey, Mr. Echeruo, a graduate of Harvard Business School, was with AM Investment Partners, a US$500-million volatility-driven convertible bond arbitrage hedge fund. He was also employed to the Mergers and Acquisitions and Leverage Finance group of JP Morgan Chase, where he was involved in a broad range of mergers and acquisitions, financing and private equity transactions.
The conference, which was last held in September 2014, saw the participation of industry leaders, including Joseph Matalon, DBJ chairman; Therese Turner-Jones, IDB country representative; Fabio Pittaluga, senior World Bank specialist; Nigel Romano, vice-president operations, Caribbean Development Bank, and Dr Keith Nurse, executive director, UWI Consulting Inc.