The country’s young technology experts will show off their skills, and interact with major local and international players in the information communication (ICT) industry, at an exposition to be held later this month.
The event will culminate Digital Jam 2.0, a job creation initiative being undertaken by the Ministry of Youth and Culture in collaboration with the World Bank, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and communication firms, FLOW and LIME.
Hundreds of young people are expected to participate in the three-day event slated for June 28 to 30 at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston.
Minister of Youth and Culture, Hon. Lisa Hanna, told a recent JIS News Think Tank that the event will expose young people to job prospects and well as avenues to start their own business.
There will be seminars and a job fair, where the youth can meet face-to- face with representatives of local and international companies, to talk to them about job opportunities and benefit from career advice.
A key feature of Digital Jam will be an ‘app’ contest where some 200 teams of young Jamaicans will compete to develop specific applications, mobile or web-based.
Miss Hanna informed that over the past two months, the teams have been honing their talents at technology camps and applications development workshops held in Kingston, Manchester and Montego Bay.
Teams stand to win various awards with a grand prize of $1,000,000 for the app that represents the best combination of technical excellence, creative content, and social developmental relevance. Both commercial opportunity and overall value of the application will be used in determining the grand prize winner, and in addition to the cash prize, the winning team will receive business incubator support.
Digital Jam 2.0 comprises a programme of events, competitions and other activities, which seek to open employment opportunities for technology-driven youths, who are either unemployed or enrolled in institutions.
It is being financed through grant funding and other inputs totalling upwards of US$200,000. Since the launch on May 8, young people have been introduced to trends, training, job and entrepreneurial opportunities in the virtual economy, while showcasing their talents, ideas and successes.
Miss Hanna said the National Youth Service and the National Centre for Youth Development will be mandated to ensure that the gains are sustained, even after the programme has ended.
“We are going to be creating initiatives to continue the process after Digital Jam 2.0, and creating systems and solutions for young people to continue the process of their applications,” Miss Hanna told JIS News.
“So there is an active approach; this is not just a one off event. What we are doing is learning the lessons from this and really moving forward with it to see the different opportunities,” she added.
Minister Hanna lauded the support of the World Bank and other corporate sponsors and said the Ministry was pleased to partner with them. “We were pleased that they bought into the idea of having this Digital 2.0,” she said.
By Elaine Reckord, JIS Reporter