They survived a “Shark Tank”-style pitch meeting and won a scholarship for their efforts.

More than 80 students from Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac applied for a Digicel competition called the Digicel Young Leaders Program, and 24 were selected to create a commercial product and ultimately pitch it to executives who would judge them for their utility, marketing and craft savvy.

Brianna Bodden of Cayman Academy and Dairilys Ebanks from Grace Christian Academy were named the winners and were each awarded a $2,000 scholarship to aid their education. Ms. Bodden won for her Rub-a-Dub Spa, selling the panel with her detailed marketing plan, brochure and props. Ms. Ebanks was rewarded for her 360 Glam salon, which allowed potential customers to use a custom app that had 360-degree camera technology to create a hairstyle and book an appointment.

The applicants participated in Enrichment Days hosted by industry professionals in marketing, IT and finance. By the end of the program, they were invited to use the skills they had developed to create and develop a personal business idea that would be critiqued by industry professionals.

Derricka Neysmith, another Digicel Young Leader, received an award for achieving the highest AS level scores for the Cambridge Travel and Tourism course.

“I am so happy to say that it was more than I could have hoped for,” Ms. Neysmith said of her participation in the program. “As an A Level business student learning tedious textbook work, I got to apply what I learned in the program to a real-life situation.”

Digicel has decided to follow up with another initiative at the beginning of the next academic year. The company will again focus on creating learning opportunities and internships for talented students seeking employment.

“Digicel has a long-standing history of commitment to the local community and the Young Leaders Program is the third major strand of our CSR initiatives this year, in addition to supporting people with special needs and developing a passion for technology amongst the youth with the YMCA Discovery with Drones program,” said Digicel Cayman Chief Executive Officer Martin Bould.

“As a leading employer in Cayman, with technology and digital skills at our core, we see it as our duty to help equip tomorrow’s leaders with the skills necessary to excel both locally and on the global stage. We are thrilled to be in a position to offer this opportunity to students in Cayman …. I’d like to thank and commend all the participants for their enthusiasm and entrepreneurialism during the ‘Shark Tank’ pitches, but specifically our two winners.”

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