World Bank says that the Caribbean is a source of prodigious talent & depth of ideas
From apps to fight rising crime levels to e-learning tools for pre-school and up, the World Bank says a prodigious talent and a depth of ideas reside in the Caribbean. The Washington-based financial institution said it’s a potential that could secure the economic future for the region, and, more specifically, valuable career opportunities for the youth.
The bank said a central part of the recent Digital Jam 3.0 conference in Jamaica was an opportunity for the shortlisted contestants to pitch their app ideas to industry leaders from across the world. “But they weren’t just there to listen but to act, and so while the finalists put the finishing touches to their presentations, the Caribbean’s private sector met to begin the process of creating the sub-region’s first angel investors network.”
The World Bank said currently access to finance is a major barrier for entrepreneurs across the spectrum, adding that such a network would work to “revolutionize investment and access to finance for wannabe tech startups, as well as give the wide Caribbean Diaspora a clear route into investing back into the region.
“Digital Jam 3.0 really is beyond a competition, it’s beyond a conference, it’s really laying the basis for a full ecosystem, which is what we wanted to do,” said the World Bank’s Fabio Pittaluga, who created the Digital Jam and KingstOOn projects. The World Bank said there is “a real demand for Caribbean talent,” stating that this year’s graduates from the Caribbean Community’s (CARICOM) new Animate Jamaica course were “all snapped up by one company prior to finishing the course, and there are still more positions available.
“There is no doubt of the intelligence and capabilities of the Caribbean’s youth. In fact, their skills are already on a par with those found in other regions with a much more developed telecommunications sector.” The World Bank said events such as Digital Jam.30 and the future launch of StartUp Jamaica, a body to foster the development of creative startups in the country, focus attention to this dormant potential.
“They convoke both the private and public sector and propose practical solutions to combating low economic growth, high youth unemployment and help secure a brighter future for talented individuals like Digital Jam 3.0?s Grand Prize winner, Gareth Thompson,” it said. “It’s shocking to see how an idea can really become a reality,” said Thompson, whose team won the Digial Jam 3.0 Grand Prize. “We have to have a serious next step, which is developing Crimebot further and trying to address the real issue: Crime.”