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Story Highlights

  • Sixty young Caribbean entrepreneurs are participating in a one-week boot camp that will equip them with basic business and product development tools and techniques necessary to build a software-based company.
  • To be held between November 9 and 13, the boot camp is facilitated by Start-up Jamaica (SUJ), an incubator/accelerator programme.
  • The aim of the camp is to equip the entrepreneurs with the tools they need to turn their ideas into a minimum viable product (MVP).

Sixty young Caribbean entrepreneurs are participating in a one-week boot camp that will equip them with basic business and product development tools and techniques necessary to build a software-based company.

To be held between November 9 and 13, the boot camp is facilitated by Start-up Jamaica (SUJ), an incubator/accelerator programme.

The aim of the camp is to equip the entrepreneurs with the tools they need to turn their ideas into a minimum viable product (MVP).

An MVP, according to Start-up Jamaica’s new Chief Executive Officer, Mark Hugh Sam, is essentially the beta version of a product which has just enough features to satisfy early adopters.

Delivering opening remarks at the boot camp at the Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS), in downtown Kingston, on November 9, Science, Technology, Energy and Mining Minister, Hon. Phillip Paulwell, said the camp will provide a real taste of Silicon Valley, home to thousands of start-up companies in the United States.

“Through this shared experience and guidance from the (California-based) Devlabs, our tech-savvy entrepreneurs can be enabled to utilize software solutions to satisfy the significant global demands that exist,” he said.

To that end, key knowledge areas, such as building and growing one’s business and taking it beyond infancy, will be explored by Devlabs’ Reuben Hernandez and Jose Lopez as well as Start-up Consultant, Karim Samakie, from the Middle East. Local experts will also be involved.

Mr. Paulwell informed that it is initiatives such as these that the Government of Jamaica is focused on, due to their potential to create jobs and other opportunities.

“It is extremely important for the Government to facilitate this type of scenario, this type of interaction, networking and transfer of knowledge and we’re hoping that out of this we will see many projects developing,” the Minister said.

Meanwhile, State Minister in the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Hon. Julian Robinson, is hopeful that the boot camp will enable the entrepreneurs to have a successful business, especially globally.

“Embrace the week that is ahead of you. Challenge assumptions,” said Minister Robinson, as he encouraged participants to make use of the expertise being given to them.

For her part, World Bank Country Manager to Jamaica, Galina Sotirova, encouraged the participants to stay focused and work hard.

She said she is happy to see SUJ become a centre for entrepreneurial development and that the World Bank is particularly impressed by the talent in Jamaica and the rest of the Caribbean.

At the end of boot camp, 15 teams of entrepreneurs will be chosen to move on to the SUJ incubator programme, where they will continue their mentorship at SUJ’s state-of -the art innovation centre in Kingston.

Following the incubation period, the entrepreneurs will go through the acceleration component of the programme, which seeks to support these businesses to increase sales.