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Featured – Secret Birds Caribbean: November Rare Bird

College Students: Win $10,000 for Your Social-Business Idea From CommonBond

CommonBond Social Impact Award for College StudentsThe CommonBond Social Impact Award, in partnership with Pencils of Promise, is offering a $10,000 cash prize to fund a top undergraduate entrepreneur, with a business idea that drives social good. Current college students are welcome to apply and will receive coaching on how to write a business plan, generate revenue and pitch to investors from Techstars.

Selected finalists, will get the opportunity to showcase socially-minded business ideas, and pitch to a panel of judges who include: Grammy Award-Winning artist, Lil Jon, CEO & Co-Founder at Pencils of Promise, the Co-Founder at Birchbox and CEO & Co-Founder at CommonBond.

In addition to the $10,000 cash prize, the winner will receive expert startup coaching from CommonBond‘s leadership team.

Award Eligibility

To be eligible, applicants must:

  • Be currently enrolled in a not-for-profit college or university.
  • Have a business or business idea, must drive positive social impact.
  • Have business or business idea that is for-profit.
  • Be able to travel to NYC in July 2017.
Note: You don’t have to be in business already to apply.

[clickToTweet tweet=”College students! Showcase your social business idea & get a chance to win $10k from @CommonBond!” quote=”Win $10,000 for your social business idea as a college student from CommonBond” theme=”style2″]

Application Deadline

The application for the award is due May 31st.

Related: More Scholarships for U.S. & Caribbean Students

Where To Apply

The application can be found on the Social Impact Ward website, HERE.

Learn more information about CommonBond’s Social Impact Award opportunity, the application and evaluation process, HERE.

Good luck and share this post to spread the word!

~ Melisa Boutin

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5 Personal Finance Tips for Caribbean Women Entrepreneurs

5 Personal Finance Tips for Caribbean Women EntrepreneursCaribbean women are reaching new heights. As a group, they are experiencing increased rates of higher education attainment and entrance into professional leadership roles, in the government and private sectors. And like their foremothers, creating businesses, while managing financial responsibilities to themselves and their families.

Over on the Secret Birds Caribbean blog, I had the opportunity to do a guest blog post on these 5 ways Caribbean women entrepreneurs can manage their personal finances.

1. Understand your financial obligations.
2. Manage your personal finances effectively.
3. Self-fund your business, the right way.
4.  Diversify your income, while building your business.
5. Check-in on your money, regularly.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Here are 5 personal finance tips for Caribbean women entrepreneurs!” quote=”5 personal finance tips for Caribbean women entrepreneurs!” theme=”style2″]

You can read more of the original post on the Secret Birds Caribbean Blog, HERE.

~ Melisa Boutin


5 Ways To Manage Student Loans As A Millennial Entrepreneur

5 ways to manage student loans as a millennial entrepreneur

Millennials are now America’s largest generation and stand at the forefront of the rapid growth of student loan debt, In fact, we are collectively carrying $1.3 Trillion in student loan debt, right now. It’s no surprise then, that many new Millennial entrepreneurs have to juggle student loan debt obligations drumming up and scaling a new business idea.

Over on I am sharing, how millennials can manage student loan debt as a new entrepreneur, including:

  1. Understand the types and terms of your student loan debt,
  2. Minimize your personal expenses.
  3. Generate income fast.
  4. Barter for services.
  5. Apply for small business prizes and pitch competitions.

5 Steps to Manage Student Loans As A Millennial Entrepreneur

Want to know how I paid off $37,000 in debt in 5 years while, saving for retirement and buying a home? Learn more about the strategies I used HERE

Read the entire article on the Priceless Planning blog, HERE.



First Caribbean Start Up Accelerator was selected for the inaugural, Summer 2016 Batch, for The First Caribbean Startup Digital Accelerator  held by – The Home of the Caribbean’s Startup Ecosystem.

As the founder of, I joined 422 other entrepreneurs, and together, we represented the 105 companies selected for the Summer 2016 Cohort. The Accelerator took place July, 11th through July 13th, 2016, and  included a 2-day startup development program, followed by a virtual demo day for 10 selected companies.

Top 10 Startups Selected for
Demo Day (Summer 2016)
  1. (Jamaica) Water efficiency for the future.
  2. (Trinidad) Curated box of local foods delivered to your door!
  3. (St.Lucia) Farming made simple.
  4. (Trinidad) Disrupting digital support for local businesses.
  5. (Antigua) The google maps of the Caribbean
  6. (Haiti) Destined to become the amazon of Haiti-#1 e-commerce for the country.
  7. (Jamaica) Transforming the face of entertainment in the Caribbean.
  8. (Montserrat) Centralized hub for tourism and travel within the Caribbean.
  9. (Jamaica) The leading blog site for anything Caribbean.
  10. (Guyana) Changing how we eat, one produce at a time.

The top ten selected startups had the opportunity to pitch their respective businesses, virtually, to Demo Day Judges: Sandra Glasgow, Founder and Managing Director of Biztactics Limited  and Founding Member of Jamaica’s First Angel Investors Network; Varelie Croes, Founder of the Liv Group and Co-Founder of ATECH; Robby Bitting, Managing Director of Marketing at Mass Challenge Boston; and Vanessa Alexandra Pestritto is Partner at Lattice Ventures.

Top 3 Startups Selected for
Caribbean Digital Accelerator (Summer 2016)

First Place: (Jamaica) Water efficiency for the future.

Second Place: (Guyana) Changing how we eat, one produce at a time.

Third Place: (Haiti) Destined to become the Amazon of Haiti-  #1 e-commerce for the country.

Each of the top 3 startups selected from the demo day presentations each won $3,000 in prizes to help propel the business forward!

My own experience during  the‘s Caribbean Digital Accelerator was an exciting and informative one, that has provided me with even more knowledge to pursue the vision of empowering Caribbean Millennials to do better with money. Even more so, I have gained access to a community of driven Caribbean entrepreneurs, who will, no doubt, be making massive impacts in tech and business within the Caribbean region and beyond.

You Can Apply Too!

If you are a Caribbean startup or entrepreneur, is accepting applications for their Fall Caribbean Digital Accelerator which are due October 5th, 2016. Get more information on applying here: Free Digital Accelerator Fall 2016