January 6, 2016
Barbados and the surrounding Caribbean islands are known for warm days, cool nights, beautiful sandy beaches, and drinks with umbrellas. There are also innovation competitions where new ideas and products are vetted and voted upon for their practicality and veracity. Sherwin Boyce took his idea here hoping it would gain the traction necessary to build a viable company. But, while these competitions happen often in Barbados, investors and the accompanying funding aren’t available like it is in the United States.
So Boyce did what a true entrepreneur would do. He went after the gold ring. He enlisted the help of friends and family to get in front of the right people in America. He developed a crowdfunding campaign and Safe Cut was born.
Safe Cut is a physical barrier designed for use by landscape and road work crews to protect those near the clean-up activity from flying rocks and projectiles. Boyce came up with this idea from his experience in the Barbados Defense Force. He saw a need to protect first responders from shrapnel as they tended to wounded soldiers. After some consideration, he saw a better market in protecting the general population from landscaping accidents.
“I saw a young girl get struck in the eye by a rock from a weed wacker,” said Boyce. “I thought about it and decided it would be easier to gain leverage with a safety device in this way.”
Boyce has spoken with local investors who have backed him for patent filing and funding the crowdfunding process. He has also spoken with landscaping and lawn maintenance manufacturers. There is interest, but they need to see a prototype. He turned to the crowdfunding platform to raise money to build the prototype. Boyce wanted to work through his local small business association and government seeking funding. He also took it to his local innovation competition and made it to the semi-finals. Unfortunately, he couldn’t get anyone to buy in.
“I got good feedback [from the competition],” he told me, “But unfortunately in Barbados we don’t have the entrepreneurial spirit you have in America so I decided to go the crowdfunding route…You [Americans] can see the potential and just because someone doesn’t have immediately have the funds you don’t wipe them off. I want to be loyal to my community, but…unfortunately here unless you have a so-called Godfather in your family it’s not happening.”
Once the crowdfunding campaign is successful and the prototype is build, Sherwin plans to hit the road to grow his company and product locally in Barbados and nationally in America.
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