Three University of the Virgin Islands (UVI) student entrepreneurs were awarded $48,000 at the annual 13D Entrepreneurship Business Launch Competition held virtually on May 6, providing them with valuable start-up funds to pursue their business ventures. Christopher McDonald earned $24,000 for his MappIt! Geographic Information System (GIS) business start-up and an additional $24,000 was awarded to Mitchell Turnbull and his teammate Walter Morris for their Cash N’Crypto ATM business idea. The 13D Competition is designed to eliminate the obstacle of financing for UVI student entrepreneurs who have great ideas for potentially profitable businesses but no access to start-up capital.  

“The two teams that pitched this year were absolutely fantastic,” said Dr. Tim Faley, the Kiril Sokoloff Distinguished Professor of Entrepreneurship at UVI. “I especially want to thank 13D Research & Strategy ( and Viya ( for the funding that makes this program possible.” 

UVI Professor of Management and Entrepreneurship Glenn Metts commented, “During a pandemic and amid the storm of instability that it caused, the students rose up and did something extremely unusual – they built a viable small start-up over just a six-month period. We often forget just how daunting the13D Business Launch Competition is for students, to build a real business at their age, prior to graduation, is a difficult and ultimately challenging task. The two finalist teams are students we should be proud of at UVI and in our community.” 

In the competition, students present a “Shark Tank”-like pitch for start-up funds before a panel of judges. McDonald’s MappIt! GIS services company will use ArcGIS mapping software and aerial photography to provide environmental data analysis for planning and management decisions. In his presentation, McDonald demonstrated how his services could aid multiple local government agencies in mapping their resources, properties and other environmental data across the Territory. McDonald, who graduated this month with a master's degree in Public Administration, first conceived of the idea after participating in a NASA internship that introduced him to the field of GIS and led him to take a GIS course at UVI.  

More information is available in a news release on the Media Section of the UVI - and from this direct link.