You’re Going On A Boat To Do What?

Starter Island 2015 And The Journey Ahead.

Travis Miller
Culture Shock
Published in
5 min readJul 26, 2015


A recent post by a fellow StartupBus alumni inspired me to write a log on what competitors and the general audience can expect for members on Starter Island.

Starter Island is a 5-day competition held throughout the Islands of The Bahamas. Teams of local and international entrepreneurs will travel on one ship, building their products and ideas. These teams will plan and strategize on the boat during the course of the trip. They will also have frequent stops throughout the islands so they can practice their pitches, explore the islands and restore their creative energy along the trip.

Starter Island will be challenging. Along with coming up with a new idea, challengers will also experience limitations on the sea.

Even though wifi will be accessible on a few of the islands we will travel to, wifi will be sparse on the boat. Therefore, as a part of the competition each team and individual member will have a data allowance; a limited amount of data to work and complete their ideas while on the boat.

Competition Components: Pioneer, Explorer and Nomad

The competition will comprise of three components: Pioneer, Explorer and Nomad. Along with building their startup (Pioneer), the teams and individuals will be presented with challenges (Explorer and Nomad) they must complete and win if they want more data to use for the competition.

This event is crazy and the competitors have to be crazy to even consider going on a boat to pitch and build their business ideas. That’s what we want. You have to be a certain type of person to think outside the box, be creative and build something no one would have ever imagined, especially in conditions that aren’t your average everyday office. So let’s commend these people for taking the chance to do something different. Hint, Hint; that was the first challenge.

Advice To The Challengers

Prepare for The Pitch

In the next few weeks before you get on the boat, think about an idea — however big or small — that you want to pitch. Each member will get a chance to share an idea, and from there the crew votes on which ideas seems the most interesting to continue working on.

Teams will then be formed by the members selected to go on the boat. During the course of the trip, each team will work for the five days to build out their products and services. Once you are on a team and you have an idea of what you want to build, stay focused and get to it.

Do You (Focus on Your Skills)

Each competitor will have a strength. Main categories for competitors on the boat will fall into designer, developer, business development and marketing. If you can wear multiple hats with two or more of these skills, or even bring another type of skill to the table, then it can only benefit your prospective team. Don’t worry about who’s better than you or what your weaknesses are. All of your teammates will learn about you and the role that you’ll play in the team so your skills (and anxiety) will balance out. Your team will be boss.

Time Moves Fast

The days on the boat will be long, but will feel short at the same time as teams rush to complete their startups. With a packed schedule of milestones to achieve and activities to do, you’ll find that time will go by very fast. Set goals and make sure you complete your milestones to move ahead along the competition.

No Pressure

Starter Island is a competition and the teams are competing for a prize, but we urge you not to get caught up in the pressure of competition. You are in The Bahamas after all. Take time to enjoy the activities, and your environment, and don’t forget to breathe. We hope slowing down to take in your surroundings will allow you to boost your creative energy and get back to kicking ass on the boat!

Competition Finals

After the boat docks, the crew will prepare to present to the audience and a panel of judges that will be vetting the viability of their businesses. After the judges deliberate and the scores are tallied, the winner of the entire competition will be selected.

To the audience, we have a few suggestions: Enjoy the show, be encouraging and get inspired. If there’s one thing this competition should show you, and what we hope you all take away from it, is that what may seem impossible and unlikely probably deserves another look.

Thank You To Our Sponsors

And on that note, I would like to take the opportunity to thank all our partners and sponsors for the support for helping us put on Starter Island. Huge shoutout goes to the StartupBus Family, Hershey’s, Pringles, Fine Threads, Green Parrot, Bahamas International Film Festival, CodePen, BahamaPrintz, Pup Star Entertainment, Struckum Pest Control, Summit Corporate Services, and Coca Cola.

Also huge shoutout to our partners and Bahamas Revisited, The Catalyst Group, Tony Williams Media, Manor of Love and the entire crew at Shift The Culture.

You guys made this event possible!

Follow The Journey

For updates on and during the competition be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. The crew and competitors will be posting updates and content during the entire trip. Also join us at the competition finals at Green Parrot Harbourfront, August 28th, 2015 @ 6PM.

Get ready to set Sail August 21st!

Find out more at



Travis Miller
Culture Shock

Web Designer, Developer & Bahamian native obsessed with design, strategy and building stuff with my own two hands.