April 26, 2016

Island Events: Caribbean Startup Summit

Selwyn Cambridge is a communications and branding specialist who has been dedicated to entrepreneurship and working with startups for more than 10 years. Selwyn and his co-founder Gregory Hinkson are the driving force behind the newly created regional Startup Community and Accelerator: TEN Habitat- An initiative helping to create a nurturing environment for the growth of entrepreneurs. He is also the co-founder of the Caribbean Startup Summit, a new event aimed at empowering regional startups. 

The Caribbean Startup Summit is a two day event for entrepreneurs in the Caribbean, taking place this Friday and Saturday (April 29th - 30th) . The event is focussed on covering every aspect of startups through master-classes, workshops, open forums, live linkups, pitches and Q&A sessions, thanks to an array of local and international business support services and experts. 

Selwyn has gathered together an amazing team of subject matter experts, global and local entrepreneurs to share key insights to building successful companies with startups and growth stage businesses. You can check out the impressive line up of speakers here.

Did I mention that tickets are only Bds$100 for both days? (This includes all workshops and master classes with coffee breaks and lunch included) Students can attend for only Bds$50. This makes it a lot easier for cash strapped start ups to attend and benefit from the experience.

I can't wait to see how this event will speak to my personal experience of starting and running a business in the Caribbean specifically. Too often, international workshops and events fail to meet the needs and challenges that we face as entrepreneurs in the region, and events end up being a 'whole lotta long talk', with little action. 

After being introduced through a mutual friend, I had the opportunity to meet Selwyn for a coffee and chat with him about his vision for the upcoming event and the plans that he has for the TEN Habitat network:

What inspired you to put together the Caribbean Start Up Summit?

Being an entrepreneur myself and working with many others for over ten years I have seen the struggle they go through to realise their dream and felt their passion to succeed. I knew we needed to do better than the traditional approach and felt more collaboration could go a far way in helping to empower startups [in the Caribbean] and expose them to global networks and support. So, instead of just talking, I decided to just do it and together with the co-founders and advisors to TEN Habitat we made the summit a reality. And this is just the first step! I just think we need better collaboration which puts the entrepreneur as the focus.

What can people expect to see at this event?

A totally immersive event that begins to engage attendees from the time they arrive. They will see business help boards where they can anonymously place questions on it and have others provide answers and panelists also provide answers in the open forums. The opportunity to have ANY startup question answered from a diverse panel. Opportunities to inspire others and leave your mark as a startup with engagement boards and live interviews to promote your startup and share your dreams to camera crews who then send your story across social media. And most importantly the launch of TEN Habitat, the Caribbean’s Startup Community that will change the game for regional entrepreneurs.

How is this event different from other Start Up events in the Caribbean?

This is a “ doers" conference and not another 'talk shop.'  

Our focus is on ensuring we create opportunities at every intervention for startups to learn something useful they can immediately implement in their venture and apply to their own ideas. So the master classes and workshops are short, intense and direct but more importantly it focuses on answering the questions of the entrepreneurs. So the majority is about getting burning questions answers, challenges addressed and solutions provided from the experiences of others who have gone through much of what every startup faces

Will there be any follow up after the event? 

Within two months after the completion of the Summit we will be staging a regional startup bootcamp with our global partners. Attending the summit will go a far way in helping you to attend the follow on event. There is so much more to come, that startups will be delighted at what is unveiled.

Will you be addressing entrepreneurship in the Caribbean specifically, and the challengs entrepreneurs are faced with?

This summit is all about entrepreneurship in the Caribbean and providing specific solutions for individual entrepreneurs to address those challenges they have control over. This is why we placed so much emphasis on bringing actual entrepreneurs to be speakers so they can talk the talk because they continue to walk the path. They will share personal stories of failure and triumph and solutions to issues they faced.

You can find out more about the event via the website and follow them on Facebook.


April 25, 2016

Barbados Beyond Boundaries

They say you can find a Bajan or someone with a Bajan connection anywhere in the world, so let's test that theory!
The Barbados Museum & Historical Society has launched "Barbados Beyond Boundaries" (BBB) - a community-constructed digital space, mapping contributions of the vast ways people from Barbados and the diaspora commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Barbados’ Independence.
Individuals can submit an artefact in the digital medium of their choice (text, movie, photo, soundbite) via the Museum portal for review. After approval, your artefact will be linked with the geographical location you specified on the BBB digital map. This then can be accessed by anyone who would like to hear about your experience!
Not only is this project archiving the way you are experiencing Barbados’ 50th Independence wherever you are, the digital map can also act as a connection device, facilitating interaction between different community groups across the world.
Contact Natalie McGuire at guestcurator@barbmuse.org.bb for enquiries into the Barbados Beyond Boundaries digital map, or to book a virtual consultation on how your community project could be integrated.

You can check out the website here and follow the Barbados Museum & Historical Society on Facebook.

April 11, 2016

Fleas on Fleek: a pop up fashion event

A couple of months ago, I started working on an idea to get rid of unwanted, unworn clothing that was still nice enough to be enjoyed by someone else.

I'm not a fashionista by any means, and as I get older I realise how little I care about current trends. I know what works for my personal style and what I feel comfortable in, so I don't know who I'm fooling by buying 'fashionable' things that don't work for me - I just end up with too much stuff in my closet. I decided to try to do a bit of Spring cleaning by combining a 'flea market' style event with a 'clothes swap' and inviting my [trendier] friends to participate.

In the last month or so, the idea has developed quite a bit and my friends agreed to go along with my plan - a 'Fleas on Fleek' event was born! :) 

In a nutshell, the concept is quite simple: We're combining an all female clothing swap with a pop up flea market in Barbados. 

Swap, Sell and Donate.

First, we swap amongst ourselves and then people are invited to come and buy our clothing from us after we have swapped.

All surplus clothing, shoes and accessories are then being donated to Jabez House
an organisation that provides vocational training and entrepreneurial opportunities to female sex workers in Barbados. They do amazing work and professional clothing and accessories are very useful to the ladies who are entering the corporate workforce.

Those who are invited to participate this time are encouraged to invite a few friends to sign up for the next event - so that we have a new group of people, with different items moving forward. 

Natasha, a local fashion blogger of InMyWardrobe, was invited to the event on Facebook and she since contacted me and asked me some questions, such as where the name came from and whether this is going to be a regular event. You can check out her post here. Thank you Natasha!

The event is taking place this Saturday, April 16th from 4 -6 pm - Check out our Facebook event for further details and invite a friend :)


April 4, 2016

Island Diaries: Diving right in

Diving, Underwater Photography, Barbados, Black and White Photography, GoPro

I had the pleasure of escaping the world and diving with my brother and a friend on Saturday morning in Carlisle Bay.

I did my PADI Open Water about 6 years ago in Thailand and I've been diving twice since then. 


I'm kicking myself for waiting this long to get back in to the water, especially since moving back to Barbados, and I'm so happy that my brother took the time to coach me back into it.

As soon as I touched the seabed I was freaking out with excitement - diving is the ultimate water baby experience. About half way through the dive, I got ahead of myself and had to take a breather - quite literally - reminding myself to calm down and not get overexcited. As we played around the wrecks, even taking a peek inside one of the larger ones, I realised that I was instinctively holding my breath as though I was free diving into the ship's crevice. It took a little while before my body and brain really connected with the fact that I could relax and breath underwater, while exploring wherever I wanted. It was such a liberating feeling.

The conditions weren't perfect by Barbados dive standards; it was a slightly overcast day and the water was not the clearest, but we stayed under for 70 glorious minutes and took our time exploring the shipwrecks in the bay. We were pleasantly surprised at the lack of garbage in the water and the absence of lion fish. Lion fish are an invasive species in the Caribbean and have been wreaking havoc on our marine life, but it seems as though the dive shops are keeping them under control in Carlisle Bay (or perhaps we just got lucky on that day!)

We reached a maximum depth of 55 ft. and the combination of low lighting and murky water made it pretty tricky to capture the experience. I shot these with my GoPro, which isn't the best with low light. I'm a sucker for underwater photography, and since the conditions weren't ideal, I edited these in black and white to add some more depth and mood to these images. Once I get a better handle on the diving, I'd like to figure out how to take better photos underwater. Any suggestions on the best cameras or accessories for shooting underwater?

I also took some video footage which I will be editing in the coming week.

Along with diving, I'm slowly easing myself back in to blogging and this little adventure was the perfect way to kick start some blogging goals for April.

Diving, Underwater Photography, Barbados, Black and White Photography, GoPro
Diving, Underwater Photography, Barbados, Black and White Photography, GoPro
Diving, Underwater Photography, Barbados, Black and White Photography, GoPro
Diving, Underwater Photography, Barbados, Black and White Photography, GoPro
Diving, Underwater Photography, Barbados, Black and White Photography, GoPro
Diving, Underwater Photography, Barbados, Black and White Photography, GoPro
Diving, Underwater Photography, Barbados, Black and White Photography, GoPro
Diving, Underwater Photography, Barbados, Black and White Photography, GoPro
Diving, Underwater Photography, Barbados, Black and White Photography, GoPro
Diving, Underwater Photography, Barbados, Black and White Photography, GoPro
Diving, Underwater Photography, Barbados, Black and White Photography, GoProDiving, Underwater Photography, Barbados, Black and White Photography, GoPro
Diving, Underwater Photography, Barbados, Black and White Photography, GoPro
Diving, Underwater Photography, Barbados, Black and White Photography, GoPro

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