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Global heavyweights confirmed for Tech Beach Retreat

Published:Sunday | November 12, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Participants and panelists at the Tech Beach Retreat 2016.

Following the successful staging of the 2016 Tech Beach Retreat in Jamaica, the organisers have set November 30 for the start of the 2017 staging in Montego Bay, St James.

The organisers say they are pushing to achieve their goal to elevate Jamaica's tech scene on the global stage and help drive a culture of entrepreneurship and innovation throughout the region.

Tech Beach is a product of the Destination Experience, which successfully expanded to Barbados in October, with plans for retreats in other markets in 2018.

Tech Beach Retreat will be hosted at the luxurious Iberostar Grand Resort as the event aims to connect wealth with ideas and opportunity.

In 2016, Tech Beach attracted 200 tech entrepreneurs, investors and innovators from North America, Africa, Europe and the wider Caribbean. More than 50 per cent of the participants were international and more than 60 per cent reported doing business with another Tech Beach participant within six months after the event.

Participants represent companies including major players in the tech world, such as Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Linkedin and PayPal.

"We are working to spark an entrepreneurship and innovation revolution in the Caribbean. Our goal is to connect the best in the Caribbean with the best in the world, driving a paradigm shift in the economic outlook of the Caribbean" said Kirk-Anthony Hamilton, co-founder and curator of Tech Beach Retreat.




Since its inception, the event has evolved into an innovative platform - connecting people, ideas and opportunities to unlock the full economic potential of the Caribbean region.

"The hope is to inspire a culture that embraces innovative new ideas, spurring disruptive start-ups into large enterprise," said Hamilton.

The 2017 theme is '10X S.C.A.L.E. - Building the next Billion-Dollar Enterprise'. Focus areas will include

fintech, health tech and consumer tech, with special attention being paid to emerging technologies, including blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies, digital payments, artificial intelligence, robotics and automation, cybersecurity and big data.

According to co-founder Kyle Maloney: "These are some of the areas which we believe are ripe for disruption in our market and they present the opportunity for the Caribbean to ride waves of new innovation. It's very difficult for us to jump on the bandwagon of far advanced technologies, but these emerging areas have massive wealth creation potential for the region."

Tech Beach Retreat is interactive and offers participants an all-inclusive non-hierarchical experience.

The organisers say they have created an experience specifically targeted for the global community of entrepreneurs, investors and influencers to engage and build relationships with the local and regional captains of industry and the most promising start-ups.

The forum is reportedly designed for relationship building, communication and organic business development, with the organisers claiming that "it is a catalyst for change, which exposes business leaders to the challenges and opportunities presented in our increasingly complex technology-driven, multidimensional, global economic environment".

Tech Beach Retreat will be presented in partnership with the Iberostar Resort, National Commercial Bank, Development Bank of Jamaica, the Jamaica Tourist Board, JAMPRO, Kuelap and Connxus.