JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Considerable progress has been made in getting the initiative off the ground.
  • The administration will be providing incubator services for these individuals.
  • The event is open to anyone 16 years and over, who has an idea that uses technology, the internet or mobile platforms.

Technology entrepreneurs will have an opportunity to build on their innovations as the Government moves to embark on the ‘Start Up Jamaica’ initiative.

Making the announcement, State Minister for Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Hon. Julian Robinson, noted that considerable progress has been made in getting the initiative off the ground, which he said should be “up and running… in the first quarter of next year.”

He was speaking at the awards ceremony for the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica’s (PCJ) Website Development Competition, held at the PCJ auditorium in Kingston on October 1.

Mr. Robinson said the administration will be providing incubator services for these individuals, noting that a building has already been identified for this purpose.

“We’ll have somebody who will manage that incubator, who would provide marketing support, financial support – persons who can help you to build a business,” he said.

The State Minister said this initiative is important as, while the country is still producing physical assets, there is a shift towards “our intellectual assets.”

“We have to maximize that, and we know we have within the country so many youngsters who have the talent but they lack the mentorship, they lack the business support to take those ideas and make them into businesses, and that is really our objective,” he said.

In this vein, the State Minister noted that the Ministry has sponsored the ‘Start up Weekend Jamaica’ initiative,  a three-day event where developers, designers, marketers, product managers and startup enthusiasts come together to pitch ideas, form teams, build products and launch startups.

The event will be held from Friday (October 4) starting at 6:30 p.m. to Sunday (October 6) ending at 9:00 p.m. at the PCJ auditorium.

He noted that aspiring and current entrepreneurs will benefit from hands-on experience, where they will be put in teams, with coaches and mentors, “who will guide you through taking a simple idea to the point where you can develop a product or a solution.”

“At the end of Sunday, we’ll have judges who will look at what you have come up with. This is one way that we are collaborating to provide the facilitators, because we know we have an abundance of raw talent in Jamaica, but (we are now providing) the facilitators, to move that raw talent into products and ideas, which are bankable and which can become businesses,” he said.

The event is open to anyone 16 years and over, who has an idea that uses technology, the internet or mobile platforms and wants to know if their idea is viable, want to launch their own startup or even be part of one. Admission is $2,500 for early registration and $3,500 thereafter.

Startup Weekend Jamaica is produced by the Jamaican franchise holder ConnectiMass Foundation along with its local and global sponsors and partners. It is part of a global initiative which has seen over 1,050 Startup Weekend events worldwide, 100,000 attendees, in 110 countries.