Advertisement
JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The Government’s ‘Start-up Jamaica’ initiative is expected to be formally launched in October/November of this year.
  • ‘Start-up Jamaica’ is a public/private partnership for economic growth and development, which aims to help Jamaica’s innovators and entrepreneurs.
  • The initiative is an accelerator for entrepreneurs, designed to turn business ideas into start-ups.

The Government’s ‘Start-up Jamaica’ initiative, aimed at providing technical support to local entrepreneurs and innovators in the area of technology, is expected to be formally launched in October/November of this year.

This was disclosed by Minister of State in the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Hon. Julian Robinson during his contribution to the 2014/15 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on Wednesday, June 11.

‘Start-up Jamaica’ is a public/private partnership for economic growth and development, which aims to help Jamaica’s innovators and entrepreneurs grow their business ideas into a product, thus increasing employment and access to foreign exchange.

He dubbed the initiative an accelerator for entrepreneurs, designed to turn business ideas into start-ups.

“The accelerator is a physical facility which takes equity in start-up companies that go through an intensive selection process, in return for seed capital, training, and mentorship,” he said.

Mr. Robinson added that the entrepreneurs will occupy the physical incubator for a period of 100 days, after which they will graduate and have an opportunity to acquire funding from private equity investors.

“Once a team is selected, they will be provided with cash and in kind support of US$30,000, half of that would be cash and the rest represents the support of being in the incubator and having the technical expertise there. The companies will be required to provide an equity stake which means they will have to give up a percentage of their ownership,” he explained, adding that a boot camp will be held in September.

Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) have been signed with several companies including LIME, Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS), the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ), and Oasis500, to advance the initiative.

Through the partnership with JNBS, the facility will be located at Duke Street in Kingston. It is also receiving funding from the DBJ for the initial stages of establishment.

Telecommunications company, LIME is to provide Internet connectivity, furniture, and equipment for the initiative, while Middle East based accelerator company, Oasis500, will invest in tech entrepreneurs who are interested in going through the required process for selection.

‘Start-up Jamaica’ also seeks to move Jamaicans from being primarily consumers of technology to becoming producers of technology; and to position the country as a hub for innovation and entrepreneurship with the Caribbean region.