After two successful seasons, the popular Bank On Me entrepreneurship challenge is about to be expanded throughout the region.
Alison Saunders, founder and managing director of Blue Waters Production Inc., producer of the show, said the next market the show would be hosted in is Trinidad.
She said while some other countries had started airing the programme, which was begun in October, 2013, it would now be telecast in about 24 countries other than Barbados.
Saunders said she was constantly seeking ways to make the show sustainable, while helping to develop and promote entrepreneurs on the island.
“The third season will be next year. We have made that decision. We are looking at it being in our old slot, which is October/November for broadcast. But we want to have a much longer period of build-up to that, so that we can do a lot more before hand, and we will have a longer time to deal with investments,” Saunders told reporters yesterday as the winner and finalists were presented with their prizes at the Cave Hill School of Business.
“We are exporting it in the sense of showing it around the Caribbean, but we are currently working on the Trinidad edition. So that is the next one we hope to roll out this year October. That is what we are aiming for to be able to actually broadcast then.
We have already been there twice and there is a lot of interest from partners. But now that we are through with this, we will push ahead with that.
“The next after that, we have some interest in the OECS. So that would be probably 2016,” announced Saunders.
She said the Bank On Me crew had already started discussion with the main sponsor Scotiabank, examining the possibility of having in-between season activities.
Sean Carter, operator of Rhema Cooling, was the winner of Season 2. Carter said he would be capitalizing on the publicity he had been getting, having been successful in the competition.
He told reporters that a 20-foot container of solar thermal air conditioning products that was not even on the island yet, had almost been sold out, having done no marketing of it at all.
“The greatest challenge now is to close the deal, so that we can order the next container; so we do not run out of supply,” said Carter, adding that the company had also begun to form strategic partnerships throughout the region.
Carter also has his eyes on expanding his ten-year-old company in the local market and employing more staff –– but said he would be doing so cautiously.
Rhema Cooling, which currently employs five people, specializes in heating, refrigeration, solar energy services, ventilating and air conditioning.
Carter, who admitted the competition was very challenging, advised entrepreneurs to have a sound business plan and have a determination to work hard, if they wanted to become successful.
The entrepreneur walked away with a suite of prizes, including a $15, 000 cheque from Scotiabank, one year worth of free advertising from Barbados Yellow Pages, a scholarship for short courses at the Cave Hill School of Business, a QuickBooks package and training from QBMed, and one year communication services from SFA Communications.
All finalists were presented with courses from the Youth Entrepreneurship Scheme (YES).
The other finalists were Janelle Mitchell, of Smart Arts Room; Michael Holder, of Blessed Rentals Inc.; Dario Greenidge, of the valet service Shine Vehicle Care; and Jamal Weekes and Lia Gajadhar of the film production company Radix.