JarGro, a smart appliance created to support the production of foods using natural LED plant light, and a built-in irrigation system (aeroponics), earned Northern Caribbean University their second consecutive victory in the National Business Model Competition at the Jamaica Conference Centre yesterday. Last year's winner Herboo, went on to place 8th (and best non-US team) at the international business model selection in the western US state of Utah.
Team members Colin Thorpe, David Smith and Craig Campbell walked away with a cheque of J$2 million and will be entering the international level of the competition in Utah, United States, in May.
The University of Technology team, Feevr, placed second, while NCU's Vitae came in third. The teams were awarded J$1 million and J$500,000, respectively, which will be used to assist in converting their business models into reality.
Digital Farms and Genius Software Programs and Electronics shared the fourth place prize of J$200,000.
The JArGro system, aimed at urban dwellers faced with serious space restrictions, uses 98 per cent less water and 70 per cent less fertilizer along with various sensors which enables it to process and act.
The system replicates the natural way plants grow thus providing all the attributes for the plant to strive and is built around a minimalistic concept that enables it to fit in one kitchen.
The NBMC is specially designed to encourage and promote the creative and innovative thinking of local students. It facilitates entrepreneurial skills and enhances collaboration and communication between the private sector stakeholders and education.
The competition is presented by the Development Bank of Jamaica, in association with the IDB, National Commercial Bank, GK Capital, Pan-Jam, the PSOJ, the ICD Group and US-based Alta Ventures.