Jamaica sets eyes on digital future
Jamaica is primed to be another hub, this one of the digital variety.
Representatives from various sponsors, supporters and information and communication technology stakeholders gathered at King's House yesterday to launch Digital Jam 3.0 - Caribbean Edition. The initiative is the follow-up to the highly successful Digital Jam 2.0 mobile-app creation competition, the finals of which were held earlier this year.
Industry Minister Anthony Hylton, a key figure as Jamaica positions itself to be the next global logistics hub, said digital infrastructure was at the heart of developing both hubs, noting the 3.0 theme: 'The Future of Work is Digital'. He added that Jamaica had the ability, leadership and human capital to succeed on both fronts.
"[Digital Jam 2.0] has unearthed tremendous talent," he said. "Digital Jam 3.0 will give us another platform to identify that talent."
Like its predecessor, Digital Jam 3.0 has an app competition, but there are also hands-on workshops to explore job opportunities in the global virtual economy. There will also be a 'Get Up, STARTUP' conference in March 2014 for young talents. State minister for science, Julian Robinson, said organisers will showcase technology to various areas islandwide at a number of community access points.
"We will not just be catering to those who want to create apps," he stressed.
Robinson said Jamaica had a "multitude of talent", but admitted there were many gaps, including business support for youngsters. Participants in Digital Jam 3.0 will be supported by further guidance, mentorship and access to resources after the competition ends next March.
A testament to the success of the 2.0 version, Roxanne Wanliss, a member of the team that created an online ticket-buying app, admitted that originally she only had a desire to learn.
"Digital Jam has flung the doors wide open to a network of oppor-tunities," she said.
Wanliss revealed that just last weekend she was in Washington, DC, pitching ideas to potential international investors.
"On behalf of young Jamaicans, thank you for believing in us, through support of this noble initiative," she said.
After she received a standing ovation, Governor General Sir Patrick Allen crowned the occasion by pinning her one of the newest I Believe Initiative ambassadors.