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IDB Lab, TechBeach Retreat partner to support 200 Caribbean tech start-ups

TURNER-JONES...the regional private sector is at a competitive disadvantage as they continue to operate in a relatively low-tech, high-cost environment, which is constraining growth potential and economic prosperity.

As companies struggle to survive during the novel coronavirus pandemic, a host of Caribbean technology businesses are poised to benefit from a technical cooperation agreement between the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Lab and TechBeach Retreat.

The three-year programme is expected to accelerate 200 tech-driven businesses from Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados and The Bahamas with mentorship, technology services, networks, and connections to enterprise opportunities and investors.

Therese Turner-Jones, IDB Jamaica country representative and general manager for the Caribbean Country Group, noted that the initiative comes at a time when the Caribbean is generally recognised as a challenging place to start and operate a business, especially technology businesses, which represent a potentially high growth sector.

“While many countries have attempted to bridge the digital gap, existing policies, workforce and infrastructure in the region remain deficient. The regional private sector is at a competitive disadvantage as they continue to operate in a relatively low-tech, high-cost environment, which is constraining growth potential and economic prosperity,” Turner-Jones stated. “Cutting-edge technology will be essential to navigating the new normal and the delivery of products and services. It will also make businesses more efficient, cost-effective, productive and profitable.”

To further support the technology ecosystem, the partnership will connect 1,000 regional technology entrepreneurs to a global community of technology experts, and train more than 80 people from the Caribbean corporate community to undertake corporate innovation programmes.

Kirk-Anthony Hamilton, co-founder of TechBeach, shared, “We have built our brand on a simple premise, connecting the best in tech in the world with the best in the Caribbean. We’ve proudly partnered with the IDB over the last two years to drive this mission and we’re excited about this evolution in our relationship. Tech entrepreneurs in the region often struggle because they lack access to resources to help them succeed.”

He added that they face competition from other entrepreneurs who operate within layered ecosystems that facilitate growth at varying levels through knowledge exchange, funding, policy, mentorship and partnerships.

 

Source: Jamaica Observer

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