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Aviation Institute wins $3,000 Pitch Competition

Updated: Sep 24, 2019

Horizon, formerly the Bahamas Aviation Institute, will next month embark on building a mobile classroom for aspiring airline pilots and mechanical engineers. The project is fully funded after winning a pitch competition, hosted by Sign Island and Aliv.


The business module was the winning pitch at the first Sign Island Small Business Expo last month, giving Horizon president Deangelo Swaby $3,000 in prizes and seed money to start the project.


Sign Island president Kweku Symonette said that hosting the pitch competition and awarding the $1,500 in seed money was aligned with the Expo’s overall objective and Sign Island’s mission to support new businesses.


“(The Pitch Competition) allowed us to show that Sign Island is supportive of new business ideas and transitioning our country into a hub for small business entrepreneurs, as was the case for us,” Symonette said.

Deangelo Swaby, Bahamas Aviation Institute founder, left, is congratulated by Sign Island's owners Kweku and Janay Symonette.

Entrepreneurs were invited to pitch business ideas in front of a panel from Shift the Culture, a local think tank group. Out of five entries, three finalists were selected to present their business modules, including an essential oils company, a pitch for a hospital boat and Mr. Swaby’s pitch for a class on wheels that would travel from school to school in Nassau and the international airport.


“The presenters had great ideas across multiple industries and investment amounts,” Symonette said. “We chose Mr. Swaby not only because his presentation was well put together, but we also saw that the asking investment would have had the biggest impact.”


Mr. Swaby also won a $1,500 phone voucher from Aliv Communications Limited.

Currently undergoing a branding facelift, the Institute has conducted aviation maintenance and flight training for some 31 students, most of whom are now flying private planes and those for major Bahamian airlines. Many of the aircraft mechanics students are now employed at several companies at the Sir Lynden Pindling International Airport.


The technical aviation school will begin taking shape this month and is slated to be completed early next year. The process begins with gutting a school bus and then outfitting it with the latest flight training simulators. Once completed, the school will serve eight students through two courses—a six-month Maintenance Apprentice course and a three-month Pilot Ground course.


“Having this project funded by the earnings from the Expo will expedite the process of going from concept to reality,” said Mr. Swaby.

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