Five Companies Graduate from UTech, Jamaica’s Business Incubation Programme

CEOs and founders of TIC’s client graduate companies: (top l-r) Mr. Gordon Swaby, EduFocal Limited and Mr. Melvin Johnson, M Mobile Labs, (bottom l-r) Mr. Andri Brown, Dirty Hands Design, Mr. Wayne Hamilton, International Work & Travel Services and Mr. Andre Wilson, Youth for Development Network.

Five companies are proud graduates of the business incubation programme of the Technology Innovation Centre (TIC) – a special unit of the Joan Duncan School of Entrepreneurship, Ethics and Leadership (JDSEEL), in the College of Business and Management (COBAM), University of Technology, Jamaica.

The successful completion of the incubation period for EduFocal Limited, M Mobile Labs, Dirty Hands Design, International Work & Travel Services and Youth for Development Network was celebrated in a virtual Client Awards and Graduation Ceremony hosted by the TIC on Tuesday, March 30, 2021, which featured the recognition of client graduates for the 2019 and 2020 period. 

UTech, Jamaica’s Technology Innovation Centre, established in 2002, provides clients with services critical to the startup, growth and development process of their business ventures.

Mr. Nigel Cooper, Head, JDSEEL, in his welcome expressed pride that the incubation period has added to the client graduates’ sustainability. He used the occasion to inform the gathering that the TIC is set to expand its services, having signed a Technology and Innovation Support Centre agreement with the Jamaica Intellectual Property Office (JIPO) to offer services to assist Jamaican entrepreneurs who have filed patents to commercialize their innovations.

Dr. Andrea Sutherland, Dean, COBAM, in offering her congratulations to the client graduates of the TIC, noted that Jamaica’s recovery from the devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic would be dependent on innovation, creativity and ‘creative disruption’ by entrepreneurs and risk-takers whose ideas will ensure our survival as a nation. She expressed that this “underscores the need for optimally supporting the entrepreneurial system, to nurture from the stage of idea to where we have sustainable projects”. Dr. Sutherland also lauded the TIC as a “pioneer of entrepreneurship in Jamaica” and the standard-bearer in providing support to a sector that is crucial to economic growth and development.

Professor Colin Gyles, Acting President, offered hearty congratulations to the client graduates of the business incubator. “I am excited about the progress and success that these awards and ceremony represent,” the Acting President expressed, noting that 22 businesses have graduated from the incubation programme at the TIC since inception.

“There is no doubt that when entrepreneurship thrives, it redounds to the benefit of everyone in our country,” Professor Gyles noted, adding that “the five companies graduating today reflect part of the rekindled hope of sustained growth of Jamaica’s Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector, especially within the context of the prevailing unprecedented times. UTech, Jamaica is happy to be making an important contribution in strengthening a national ecosystem that provides and supports innovation and thriving entrepreneurship.”

Professor Gyles also lauded the leadership of the TIC, noting that strategic partnerships that have recently been forged with entities such as the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) and the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) for capacity building, have strengthened the work of the TIC. He also reiterated that “the University remains open, committed and ready to help start-up entrepreneurs to grow and develop their businesses.”

Guest Speaker

Mr. Lloyd Distant Jnr., President of the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce (JCC), and an alumnus of the TIC business incubator, recalled with fondness his time at the TIC as one of the first tenants. He recalled the feeling of excitement and challenge in “concretizing a concept, making it commercially viable and charting my own path through the myriad difficulties that face new and emerging small businesses in Jamaica.” Given these experiences, Mr. Distant expressed his confidence in the nurturing that the client graduates have received during their incubation period.

“The entire country is looking to you, and your peers in the wider economy to help our nation to contribute to the necessary transformation from pre-pandemic ‘business as usual’ to tomorrow’s more sustainable growth and development,” he said.

Mr. Distant, however, lamented the “anemic economic growth” recorded by Jamaica for most of its independent history, having failed to deliver on enormous economic and wealth creation potential especially evident in the creative and cultural industry. He noted the need to streamline and simplify the processes that “frustrate many in our creative and cultural industries, and especially those who are MSMEs, from optimizing their capacity to nurture, monetize and support their services.” He noted that many of the strides that have been made in these industries have been by innovative and intrepid Jamaicans, who have prospered despite the challenges of a system that often does not support them. The JCC head lauded the University of Technology, Jamaica for providing structures to assist businesses, and MSMEs in particular, to navigate the challenges of creating sustainable and successful enterprises, and urged the University to continue striking strategic partnerships to establish an “enabling environment” for start-up ventures to thrive.

Special Awards

The ceremony also included special awards to clients and client graduates of the TIC who were outstanding in their respective fields during the 2019 and 2020 period. These were the Trailblazer Award won by Smart Term Limited and PreeLabs Limited for 2019 and 2020; the Innovator Award won by It’s Pixel Perfect (2019) and Smart Term Limited (2020); the Top Residential Award won by Edufocal Limited (2019), an and Dirty Hands Designs (2020). The Client of the Year Award was copped by DoorStep Jamaica Limited for 2019 and 2020. 

The Trailblazer Award was won by CEO Shamir Saddler of Smart Term Limited and PreeLabs Limited for 2019 and 2020 respectively. Yekini Wallen-Bryan, CEO of PreeLabs Limited was awarded the Prime Minister’s National Youth Awards for Excellence in Innovation in Science and Technology in December 2020.

The Innovator Award, for client efforts to “constantly find an innovative way to add value to their clients” was awarded to CEO Conrad Mathison of It’s Pixel Perfect (2019), and CEO Shamir Saddler of Smart Term Limited, (2020).

Mr. Gordon Swaby, CEO, Edufocal Limited, an online social learning platform and Andri Williams, CEO, Dirty Hands Designs, a company specializing in the sale of branded apparel for clients, were awarded the (2019) The Top Residential Award for 2019 and 2020 respectively.

The Client of the Year Award, presented to the client who has met and surpassed their annual investment and revenue goals, was copped by DoorStep Jamaica Limited for 2019 and 2020.  Pictured from left are Chief Operating Officer Javed Cameron and Chief Executive Officer Victor Clemetson.


Michelle Beckford (Mrs.)
Corporate Communications Manager
University of Technology, Jamaica
Telephone: 876 970-5299