Jampro to support Tech Beach for 3

BY JOSIMAR SCOTT
Observer writer

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

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The Jamaica Promotions Corporation has pledged its support to Tech Beach Retreat for the next three years, a release sent to the Jamaica Observer announced.

The event, which was held from last Thursday, November 29 to Saturday, December 2, provided local tech-based entrepreneurs and organisations to connect with global counterparts through networking, workshops, panel discussions, and presentations. The tech and entrepreneurships conference also serves to initiate business relationships that will facilitate the injection of capital and expertise into the Caribbean's tech and entrepreneurship spaces.

Jampro President Diane Edwards said that because Tech Beach Retreat has the potential to boost industry and innovation for the Jamaican economy, her organisation has formalised a partnership with the organisers.

“Jampro sees Tech Beach as an avenue to showcase high-level content in the tech industry along with attractive business opportunities for Jamaica's tech entrepreneurs. The event will help to attract global investors to Jamaica, while acting as a catalyst for greater innovation in the island,” Edwards is quoted in the release.

“We are particularly pleased with the event's continued thrust to feature the latest in financial, consumer, health care and media technologies, while exploring new approaches to securing data and tackling cybercrime,” she continued.

In response to the offer, Tech Beach co-founder Kirk-Anthony Hamilton, who thanked Jampro for its support stated, “We're certainly thankful to Jampro for their endorsement and support of our efforts as they are a key player and component in the innovation ecosystem. We see our role evolving from simply being convenors of this multi-stakeholder global ecosystem and we are now working as connectors and educators, ensuring our people are armed with the tools, resources and networks necessary to navigate the digital economy led by emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, robotics and blockchain technology.”

Jampro joins Jamaica Tourist Board, Development Bank of Jamaica, Caribbean Development Bank and Inter-American Development Bank, among others, in a large pool of partners and sponsors providing support for the conference.

Though not in a position to indicate the extent of financial support Jampro will be providing over the next three years, Kenisha Nooks, Jampro's integrated communications manager, told the Jamaica Observer, while at Tech Beach Retreat, that the partnership “consists not only of cash, but in kind as well”, including promotional support.

She also disclosed that the promotions agency's support is in line with a strategic initiative that “will add value to local Jamaican tech-entrepreneurs” as there is a growing interest within the country's technology space.

Jampro Vice-President - Marketing Gabriel Heron indicated that the sponsorship of the conference forms part of Government's “strategic approach to the development of technology within the digital space in Jamaica”.

The approach, he says, is multifaceted, as Tech Beach Retreat presents an “ideal nexus” for tech entrepreneurs to meet and network, while gaining a better understanding of the different opportunities within the technology industry from a global perspective.

“Jampro's sponsorship is enabling our local tech entrepreneurs to be exposed to that [international expertise] to foster further growth in that particular sector. So it's also a long-term strategic view as well in that regard... There is a lot of space to grow, and it is critical, at this point, for us to start making deliberate moves to see how we can assist the local tech entrepreneurs,” Heron pointed out.

“There are a lot of tech entrepreneurs that need investment for their projects, so we want to expose our tech entrepreneurs to potential investors overseas, 'cause a lot of venture capitalists actually come to these [conferences],” he added.

The Jampro vice-president believes that though the tech industry is still in the incubation stage, there is potential for establishing a technology community within Jamaica for knowledge sharing, similar to that of Silicon Valley in California, United States.

Reasoning that “relationships still drive business at the end of the day”, Heron encouraged tech entrepreneurs to take advantage of the “power” of Tech Beach Retreat and similar conferences and workshops, to not only expose themselves to new technology, but also people who can leverage their business ideas.

One such person he referred to was Jeff Pulver, founder of Vonage and pioneer for Voice over Internet Protocol — VoIP. Pulver, a guest speaker and panellist at Tech Beach, is known to be an aggressive venture capitalist who has invested in over 400 start-ups.

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