JAMAICAN YOUTH were yesterday given the opportunity to enter the virtual economy, as the Digital Jam 2.0 Marketplace and Job Fair got under way at the Jamaica Conference Centre.
Several international technology companies have joined forces to lead the fair, which will end on Saturday.
The event is geared at providing opportunities for Jamaican youths in the virtual economy, creating solutions for them to earn a living through their pursuit of innovative ventures online.
This kind of innovation is not well known, and the organisers of the exposition hope to change that. The two-day programme comprises workshops, seminars, presentations by local and international experts and exhibits, and will culminate two exciting months of tech-driven events, strategically designed to showcase the many employment and entrepreneurial opportunities available to Jamaican youths in technology.
Fabio Pittaluga, World Bank senior social development specialist, Latin America and Caribbean region, said the goal of the programme, in particular the presence of the international microwork companies, is to "give youths a message of hope, and show young Jamaicans that, to participate in the global virtual economy, you don't need to be an engineer and you don't need to sit in the Silicon Valley."
"We live in the age of techno-logy and there are now immense possibilities for youths to be employed by companies online or to set up a small business to serve national, regional or global clients," added Pittaluga.
Ingrid Riley, project coordinator of the Digital Jam 2.0, said they have created a programme of activities starting with yesterday's 24-hour Sports Hackathon competition, which is the first of its kind in Jamaica. The code sprint will see teams of participants competing to create apps as solutions for the sports industry and to win cash prizes of US$3,000, US2,000 and US$1,000 as well as internships, trophies and gadgets. The judging of the final apps and team presentations will be staged today in front of a live panel of judges.
Riley said, with "technology as the backbone of our sports industry, we can leverage that and grow even more". She added that, for the job fair, "we brought in a lot of international experts to talk about things like microwork, e-lancing, and crowdsourcing to expose our young people about where online they can go to find a job or to start up a business".