You have to ‘pitch it’ to win it

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An Antiguan mobile application developer, Elijah James, said the demand for apps and an open market led him to create “The Local App”, a regionally recognised Android and IOS app for users wanting to access all things local.
James has been shortlisted to compete in PitchIT Caribbean, a tech-entrepreneurial competition for “The Local App” a travel guide and marketplace for businesses and jobs.
“I really want the app itself to be the official guide for Antigua & Barbuda when it comes to tourism and the goal is for me to promote Antigua & Barbuda to the world,” James said.
Locally, there is a demand for mobile device applications that are designed to ease the way of business and improve interactions and transactions among users.
James said he is just one of many developers on island who form an unofficial group, “Silicon Dadli”, a pun on Silicon Valley in California, USA, which is home to many start-up and global technology companies.
The developer said a major limitation that he and many members of the group have found is the tedious process of funding for this new business model.
“Traditionally, a lot of the banks are not set up for dealing with tech businesses; they don’t know the space, it’s not like a restaurant or retail store … so many people who are not familiar with the tech industry they can’t give any feedback,” he said.
James also said there is an untapped market for local businesses in Antigua to get online with mobile shopping, the preferred consumer experience that customers enjoy with international sellers.
In an age where consumers prefer to shop and browse online, James said businesses should devote financing to build a strong base as it will reap many rewards.
“Not only would you work remotely from anywhere in the world but the money comes right back to Antigua. We need to capitalise on how people are connecting and doing their business online,” James said.
He said his plans to market his app to other tourist destinations is the end goal, a dream that could be realised if he is successful at PitchIT and wins US $15,000 in St Kitts on June 11.
James will compete against 24 other entrepreneurs if he makes it to the final stage, the developer will pitch Version 2 of his app to a panel of business experts and investors.
Locally, popular mas troupes, cellular providers and party ticketing apps have emerged as gateways between developers and an audience which lives through handheld devices.
James explained that PitchIT is aiming to create a regional pool of high-growth potential mobile start-ups with the capacity to release their apps to the market after they complete the challenge in St Kitts.

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