“I was extremely pleased with the range of businesses that pitched. There was a wide range of fields and areas represented from information technology and fashion design to agriculture and business services. This diversity goes to show that the spirit of entrepreneurship is alive and well in Barbados. I found the judging process to be thorough and transparent. My fellow judges got to the heart of the issues and gave solid advice and guidance which would be useful and insightful to all of the participants. ”
On NISE being a sponsor of the show she says:
“At the National Initiative for Service Excellence (NISE) Inc. our mission is to promote and facilitate the achievement of sustainable excellence within organisations. We are happy that our schedules meshed and were able to participate this year. The show provides a wonderful platform for entrepreneurs in Barbados to network, compete in a series of business-oriented challenges and make their pitch for various forms of investment and support.
The delivery of service excellence is an extremely important component to any successful business and we are delighted that the producers of Bank on ME have seen it fit to include this area as one of the major components of the programme. The customer service workshop which we led for the contestants provided them with a solid framework upon which they can build their customer service and brand value on. We as a country have made significant steps towards the improvement of our service delivery and it is important that we continue to do so. Today’s global economic environment is extremely competitive and many of our businesses, including those belonging to the talented entrepreneurs who are part of Bank on ME will have to compete with individuals and companies around the world, so we must ensure our service delivery is at a world class standard.”
What was important for the entrepreneurs to convey in their pitch to the judges?
I was looking for businesses that clearly understood the importance of a strategic customer service approach, customer service touch points and consistently delivering the “Wow” factor. It is important to have an understanding of these critical areas and be able to clearly demonstrate it as they are key when it comes to successful branding and customer service delivery.
When describing her thoughts of the NISE Challenge winner - Michael Holder of Blessed Rentals,
she said: I was impressed by all of the contestants, each of them did a great job at representing their business and outlining what they do to ensure their business stays at the forefront of service excellence. What stood out with Mr. Holder was that based on his pitch he thoroughly lives out his service brand and embodies the essence of his particular service brand allowing his customers to be able to fully experience it.
Kim Tudor - Guest Judge
CEO, the National Initiative for Service Excellence (NISE)
“The range of businesses was encouraging and I deeply admired all of these individuals who boldly took this step to gain immediate exposure for their enterprises and by applying to actively seek out expertise and funding to take good ideas to sound businesses. I feel we learned a lot from them and I hope we imparted a few guiding words at this early stage. I wish them good luck and an enjoyable journey.”
Guest Judge, Audition Show
Season 2 Judges' Comments
Read what our Judges had to say
“The contestants were very well prepared and did great research. It showed they obviously know a lot about their businesses. The range shows that Barbadians are looking at novel areas to create business. I was looking for creativity and innovation, as I like non-traditional marketing ideas and wanted to see contestants willing to try completely new or even crazy things to woo their prospects. The judging process was very fair and each judge was able to put forward his or her own case. I liked that in the end, there was a consensus on who should go forward. With such a system, it’s hard not to pick the right winner.”
Ian Walcott-Skinner - Guest Judge
Global Expert Systems Inc
“In these harsh global economic times, I am of the view that creative solutions are imperative in the fight to address our problems. This is what entrepreneurship is about. Any platform which hones and trains individuals to develop their passions and ideas get a thumbs-up from me.”
Toni explains her involvement in the show:
“I believe in the vision and mission of Bank on ME. I know various entrepreneurs who entered the initiative and whether they reached the finals or not, they left having gained a priceless experience. In these harsh global economic times, I am of the view that creative solutions are imperative in the fight to address our problems. This is what entrepreneurship is about. Any platform which hones and trains individuals to develop their passions and ideas get a thumbs-up from me. Bank on ME does this, in addition to giving promotion to thousands of prospective entrepreneurs.”
On her experience of being a judge, she says:
“I found the judging process exciting and extremely informative. As a guest judge and young entrepreneur, I came to learn. I came to learn from the entrepreneurs that were pitching, the other judges on the team and the entire process. I too left with information I did not know prior to being a judge. I loved the diversity of the businesses pitched and am aware of the various businesses and industries in the market.”
Toni Thorne - Guest Judge
Thorne Publishing and Productions
“I consider Bank on Me a step in the right direction of adding value for small business owners. The show provides several opportunities for the entrepreneur: visibility, the opportunity to interact with other business owners, the opportunity to learn and grow, and of course the chance to win!
There exists that openness to different ideas and while this season has an awesome group of contestants who have really brought their A-game, we as judges have been fairly unanimous in reaching a decision for the final three.”
On the range of businesses in the show, Ouida says:
“The scope of business represented was wide and to this end supports the integrity of judging. I say this because everyone is judged by the same criteria. However as contestants presented their businesses, the edge they brought in meeting that criteria, is a differentiating factor and surely guaranteed them a place in the final 12 selected for the show.”
Ouida simply states what she was looking for in the entrepreneurs:
“Confidence, well thought out presentations, and evidence that they did their research, sought feedback and implemented it.”
Toni Thorne - Guest Judge
Thorne Publishing and Productions