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The Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining (STEM) is set to implement the Start-up Jamaica initiative aimed at providing technical support to local entrepreneurs and innovators in the area of technology.

Speaking to journalists during a post-Sectoral Debate press briefing at the PCJ Auditorium in New Kingston, State Minister in the Ministry, Hon. Julian Robinson, said the programme will be implemented before March next year.

Through the initiative, the Ministry will partner with the local universities and the business community to provide coaching and mentoring for entrepreneurs in the areas of technical expertise and business and financial planning.

Among the programme’s objectives are: to assist innovators and entrepreneurs to grow from idea to product to market; to move Jamaicans from being technology consumers to technology creators; and to position the country as the hub for entrepreneurship and innovation in the Caribbean.

“What we want to do with Start-Up Jamaica is to provide an environment where [a certain level] of sharing and community can exist, so persons will be able to bounce ideas off other persons,” Mr. Robinson stated.

He further said, “we will be able to attract Jamaicans in the Diaspora, who want to come back to Jamaica and to attract those who see Jamaica as a location for this kind of business.”

Mr. Robinson noted that Start-Up Jamaica, which is inspired by the Start-Up Chile initiative, is envisioned as a public-private partnership for economic growth and development.

“That kind of sharing and community is what has facilitated Chile doing as well as it has in terms of its culture of innovation and entrepreneurship,” he remarked.

Making his contribution to the 2013/14 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on May 28, Mr. Robinson said the project will seek to attract and support local early-stage entrepreneurs and innovators.

“The intent is to get Tech entrepreneurs prepared to successfully pitch their ideas and/or developments to potential investors. It is expected that entrepreneurs would network and participate in professional development activities within communities,” the State Minister said.

He also informed that the Government will provide the physical space for the project, which will be managed by a private sector operator, renovated (as necessary) and branded by one or more private sector companies.

Contact: Athaliah Reynolds-Baker