Ingrid Riley recognised at Regional Technology Innovation Awards

Friday, December 13, 2013

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INGRID Riley, executive director of ConnectiMass a non-profit that teaches and promotes tech entrepreneurship and innovation, has been named among a group of six Caribbean nationals as recipients of the 2013 TechLink Caribbean Innovators Award for their contribution to advancing technology innovation in the region.


The TechLink Caribbean Innovators Awards was launched recently in Grenada, as part of the TechLink initiative -- a regional technology community training programme of BrightPath Foundation, a non-profit organisation with corporate support from Columbus Communications, operators of Flow and Columbus Business Solutions. Six technology advocates and pioneers from across the Caribbean are recognised for their outstanding contribution to the building technical capacity and advancing technology innovation in the region, as part of the Awards Programme.


"Through the TechLink Caribbean Innovators Award programme, BrightPath recognises and celebrates distinguished volunteers who exemplify its mission to empower people, communities and nations through technology," said BrightPath Founder and Executive Director, Bevil Wooding, adding, "Awardees can come from large companies, little start-ups, social entrepreneurs, independent thinkers, and radical innovators. With each award, we celebrate their contribution, their approach, their ideas and their values."


In addition to Riley, other winners are Nerissa Golden of Montserrat, Deanne Scott and Teddy Frederick of Grenada, Juma Bannister of Trinidad and Tobago, and Stephen Lee, a Jamaican-born US national.


Riley received the TechLink Game Changer's Award for Social Entrepreneurship and her contribution to transforming the region's approach to tech business start-ups.


She called the award timely as she expressed her appreciation for the recognition.


"We are about to launch Start-up Caribe which is a project to seek out and accelerate the work of 100 Caribbean start-ups and take them to the world over the next four years. We are very honoured to receive this award," Riley said.


Jamaica-born Stephen Lee, CEO of Florida-based IT consulting and services provider ArkiTechs Inc, got the TechLink Tech Diaspora Service Award for his outstanding contribution to technology training and Caribbean mobile app development.


Lee is a founding member of the Caribbean Network Operators (CaribNOG) and serves as a Telecommunications Advisor to the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU). He has also developed a suite of mobile apps to promote local content and culture.


The TechLink Tech Community Service Award, which recognises individuals and organisations making a significant impact at a community level in technology advocacy, education, public awareness and innovative solution implementation, was presented to Montserrat's Nerissa Golden for Outstanding Contribution to Caribbean Storytelling and Encouraging the Participation of Women in ICT, through her www.trulycaribbean.net web portal and entrepreneurship events.


"It feels good to be honoured for something that just became a way of life," said Golden. "I started with just doing this weekly letter about being a mother and just sharing what I was learning in my own process. I came online because there wasn't content about being a Caribbean mother or being an entrepreneur. That's how it started. Then it became a vehicle to promote what I was doing and connect with people whom, under normal circumstances, I would never meet. It was allowing me to create a business out of the ideas in my head. Now I recognise that we do need more people creating our own content and telling our own stories."


Juma Bannister of Trinidad received the TechLink Digital Content Award, which recognises individuals and organisations that are making a significant contribution to education and community mobilisation in the area of local content development and preservation. He was recognised for his contributions in the area of digital photography training through his Elevate Caribbean initiative.


Two Grenadians were given special TechLink Local Innovator's Award which recognises individuals showing promise or who are adopting an innovative approach to developing technology solutions that meet local needs and create global opportunities. Deanne Scott was recognised for Grassroots Innovation and her contribution to e-Health and public awareness. Teddy Frederick was awarded for his contribution to promoting local content creation through photography.


Rhea Yaw Ching, corporate vice-president of sales and marketing at Columbus, said that supporting the innovative use of technology in the Caribbean has always been priority for Columbus. "Affordable high-speed, Internet access is becoming a reality across the region. Jamaica, for example, is now part of an elite group of only five countries in the Caribbean where Columbus offers 100Mb Internet service to the home. However, more has to be done to encourage the creation of Caribbean digital content. BrightPath is certainly doing its part." Yaw Ching also noted that while Columbus provides a robust network to customers with speeds of 12 to 100 Mbps to the home, people need to understand and tap into the true potential of reliable broadband connectivity in order to maximise its usage in our daily lives. "TechLink provides that opportunity," she said.


As part of a wider Memorandum of Understanding, Columbus and BrightPath are currently rolling out the TechLink initiative throughout the Caribbean.


Jamaica will be a beneficiary of the initiative during 2014 when TechLink education sessions are presented at the community level, with a focus on youth, educators, parents, small business owners.


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