Thirty advanced-stage mobile app developers from across the Caribbean participated in person and via web in a 3-day bootcamp on April 11-13. The Mona School of Business & Management at the University of West Indies (UWI), Jamaica, hosted the event.
The intensive ‘mini course’, organized by the World Bank’s infoDev and hosted by the University of West Indies (UWI), is a follow-up to the highly successful Digital Jam 3.0 held in Kingston in March, which introduced project teams to the process of creating, managing and marketing mobile apps in a competitive design, training and pitching exercise.
Addressing the young digital entrepreneurs, Julian J. Robinson, Jamaica’s Minister of State in the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, encouraged their efforts and assured them of the government’s commitment to facilitating tech-business opportunities for the region’s youth. “This event is important,” he said, “because it will help to refine the ideas and concepts you’ve come up with, and hopefully put you in a position to go to people who can fund those ideas.”
While several of the attendees are working on projects aimed at a regional market, Minister Robinson reminded the developers that “many of the local problems exist in other places as well, so your market is immediately enlarged when you can apply the same solutions. The wider the market, the greater the possibility you will have for funding.”
Also providing a message of encouragement was Marie Legault, head of development at Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD, formerly CIDA) in Jamaica. “For the Caribbean and Jamaica to grow,” she said, “we need entrepreneurs. You already have ideas and your technical skills, but what we can do is help you to develop them and find investors.”
The Mobile Camp will next address ‘virtual’ seed financing and due-diligence simulation. The most promising startups will be invited to participate in an international technology conference, which includes an investor matchmaking exercise.
The initiative is part of the mobile innovation project (CMIP) under infoDev’s Entrepreneurship Program for Innovation in the Caribbean (EPIC), supported by the Government of Canada. The program aims to strengthen the Caribbean innovation ecosystem to enable competitive mobile enterprises to grow, ultimately creating the necessary critical mass for significant improvements in investment and employment.