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27 Mar 2015

StartupRobot helps keep Jamaican entrepreneurs compliant

Winston Wilkins

startup robot startup jamaica
Leer en español.

 

We started by solving the problem of registering a business in Jamaica first.

The government assumes citizens have the time to go through complex forms and wait in long lines, to then repeat the process when there are small mistakes that need to be corrected. In light of this, the compliance rate with the registration process is low in Jamaica, with citizens thinking things will work themselves out. Till they don’t. And when things do catch up with them, those who can buy their way out do, and those who can’t go to court and then jail.

We saw this as a problem to solve.

In order to find a solution to the bottleneck that exists when attempting to register a company, we looked at the problem from the citizens’ perspective and figured out a solution that would streamline the process. We collect information from an interface as familiar as your social media platforms and use this information to fill out all required forms before the due dates wherever possible. We charge a fee for the combined value of convenience transportation cost and customer time saved.

We are currently hosted by Start-Up Jamaica, a start-up accelerator promoted by the Jamaican Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining (MSTEM) and the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) on the one hand, and local and overseas private investor partners on the other. Start-up Jamaica helped us with pitch development and opportunities to pitch to investors, as well as media coverage, networking and referrals to start gaining traction in the market. In this programme, we also met and partnered with another Start-Up Jamaica first-generation company, Errandboy.

So far we have gotten a steady stream of customers and the growth curve is now evident. More and more business-owners across the island are satisfied with the service and spreading the word among their networks. We’re also starting to gain support from a couple of government ministries who see the value in a product that facilitates this service for citizens. We are currently drafting a Memorandum of Understanding to present to the Companies Office of Jamaica, but we have been collaborating informally to serve the customer who may be currently intimidated by the traditional process and sees value in our offering. We maintain a visible presence at the Companies Office as our registrations increase and we now handle between 10 and 40% of the daily company registrations; we are definitely increasing the number of express registrations.

These are exciting times for StartupRobot. We are looking outward and hoping to extend beyond our borders within the next 6 months, looking not only at the Caribbean but at Latin America as well; we’re currently searching for partners that can help us with logistics and legal information. We see that there are similar bottlenecks with business registration procedures in other countries that could use the system we’ve set up at StartupRobot. We do not believe the government should be limited to the party in power; we believe entrepreneurs should also respond to the demands of the people.

 

Learn more following @StartupRobot and @teamwillo

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