Jonathan Webster, founder of mobile car mechanic company Efficient Mobile Technicians, has received the Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2016.
The 29-year-old, one of four finalists in the contest, received the award at a ceremony at the Westin Resort and Spa on March 16.
“As a child I dreamt of having my own shop, as cars are my true passion,” Mr. Webster said in a press release. He earned a Certification in Automotive Technology from Wyotech Technical Institute in Sacramento, California.
He said the goal of Efficient Mobile Technicians, which specializes in mechanical, electrical automotive diagnostics and preventative maintenance, is to appeal to workers who prefer the convenience of having a qualified mobile technician come to them, instead of dropping off their car at a fixed location.
Runner-up for the award was Kimberley Conolly, a 29-year-old Spotts-Newlands resident, whose business The Wick Candles & Scents features natural, handcrafted Caymanian-inspired scents, which Ms. Conolly refers to as the Islands Scents Collection. Her products are available at the Farmers Market at Camana Bay, the Farmers Market in George Town and at the Seven Fathoms Rum Distillery.
The other two finalists were Brittany Kelly and Xavier Ebanks. Ms. Kelly is the producer of Strike Twice Creative Ltd., a production company that specializes in bringing an idea for marketing strategy, social media presence or short film from inception to final product. Mr. Ebanks, co-owner of Awe Tech Group LLC, is developing software which will give users the ability to book appointments online.
Sarah Dobbyn, managing partner of the Sinclair Group and a member of the judging panel, said the judges were impressed by the number and caliber of the applicants and found it hard to pick a winner. “All the contestants had compelling stories to tell, but Jonathan was the complete package,” she said.
“I knew from friends that young Caymanians are often deterred from setting up in business by the high costs involved,” she said, “and we wanted to give the best and brightest young entrepreneurs a head start.
“We always knew there were lots of young Caymanians with great business ideas, but my fellow judges and I did not expect to be so inspired by the extraordinary potential that we have seen in the four young Caymanian entrepreneurs who were our finalists both this year as well as last year.”
She said the judges looked for three attributes: the creativity to make something using only their own ingenuity and hard work; the courage to take risks and beat them; and the passion to change their own lives and the lives of those around them for the better.
Mr. Webster said he was motivated to set up his business by the birth of his daughter in 2014. “In those moments I gained absolute clarity. No matter how hard I worked for another enterprise, I have no equity, capital or ownership. The very next day I started to mastermind the plans for financial freedom,” he said.
“After about two years since returning home from university, my spark started to die as day-to-day reality started to take its toll. On Aug. 4, 2014 [the birthday of his daughter] the spark hit me like 400 amp magneto, and the realization of building my dreams is not just my responsibility but it’s to show my family that dreams can come true if we are willing to ensure the process and actively pursue them with absolute faith.”
The Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award, which was conceived by Ms. Dobbyn, is an annual competition to identify new local entrepreneurs. The competition is open to Caymanians between 18 and 30 years old.
The prize packages include free incorporation of a Cayman company, free legal advice, and a one-time cash injection for the winning businesses. Free executive business coaching is sponsored by Shirlaws Cayman and further business mentoring is provided by Cynthia Hew and Sheena Conolly.
Members of this year’s judging panel were: George Town MLA and Councilor to the Minister of Education, Employment and Gender Affairs, Winston Connolly; Ms. Dobbyn; Cynthia Hew, broadcaster and owner of Bon Vivant; Danielle Young of Shirlaws Coaching; Sheena Conolly, owner/broker of Cayman Islands Sotheby’s International Realty; and Deanna Price, director and co-founder of Sinclair Fund Services Ltd. and Sinclair Trust Company Ltd.