Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Hon. Fayval Williams, has commended the National Commercial Bank (NCB) for helping to build the innovative capacity of citizens amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, through the recent hackathon, dubbed ‘Hack-celerate’.
The three-day competition saw more than 400 entries, where 18 shortlisted local teams pitched practical, innovative and digital businesses solutions, to combat the effects of COVID-19 on business operations.
“I must commend NCB in many ways. They are helping to build the innovative capacity of our people as we strive to become the place of choice to live, work, raise families and do business. I look forward to seeing the development of the solutions [pitched] at the national level, as we work together to create a prosperous Jamaica,” the Minister said.
She was speaking at the launch of the competition in Kingston, recently.
Mrs. Williams expressed the Ministry’s appreciation of youth leveraging the power of science to develop solutions that guarantee a better quality of life for all citizens.
“I believe this hackathon is timely, as it is aimed at identifying and developing solutions that can have a positive impact on the society in light of COVID-19. The work being done in the creation of healthcare and business solutions by our young innovators is truly heartening,” she said.
The Minister argued that science, technology and innovation must become major lynchpins to support the nation’s development, and called on members of the private and public sectors to support this drive.
“As we look for ways to live, work and do business safely during these challenging times, technology and innovation will be integral to everything we do. It’s not just about achieving greater efficiencies in business anymore, it’s also about preserving lives, protecting our people and finding ways to adapt to the ‘new normal’ that we’re living in,” Chief Digital and Marketing Officer at NCB, Nadeen Matthews Blair, shared.
The event was hosted in partnership with Innovate 10x, The Jamaica Constabulary Force, Pharmacy Association of Jamaica, Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) and the Ministry of Science, Energy and Technology.
Regional participants included teams from Antigua, Trinidad and Tobago, and Haiti.
The winning pitch tackled the issue of overcrowding in business places and managing long customer queues. It was developed by ‘The Outliers’, who walked away with the top prize of $500,000.