UCC, US-based entrepreneurial and tech firm Opportunity Hub launch OHUB@Jamaica

Sunday, April 15, 2018

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The University of the Commonwealth Caribbean (UCC) has announced the signing of a partnership with North America's leading inclusive, innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem building platform Opportunity Hub (OHUB) to provide its signature technology and entrepreneurship training in Jamaica.

The partnership signing took place at the UCC corporate office in Kingston recently.

Offered in the classroom and via a learning management system, OHUB's education and training products provide would-be technologists and high growth startup entrepreneurs with the knowledge, expertise, mentorship and connections they will require to navigate the innovation economy.

“The ability to present opportunities in the innovation ecosystem to Jamaica's learning institutions and positively impact our cultural identity has long been a dream of mine,” stated Gary Bembridge, founder of Heads Apart Ventures which brokered the agreement and will assume the role of managing partner at OHUB@Jamaica.

“Today's groundbreaking announcement paves the way for the ultimate goal, which is partnering with tech companies to open offices in Jamaica and hire qualified local talent. With the UCC announcement, we have taken one significant step towards achieving that goal.”

Bembridge explained that the programme goes beyond tactical skills and teaches students how to think like a software engineer and innovator. They will be trained in the areas of ideation, design thinking, business model generation, financial responsibility, diversity, inclusion and career readiness, including interview training for tech industry jobs.

Dr Winston Adams, UCC's Group Executive Chairman, said it is important to align the training opportunities at UCC with the needs of the global economy.

“It is time now for a new suite of skills, a new set of competencies (that are) much more articulated to the marketplace and to the country's development objectives, as well as to personal aspirations. This partnership with the Opportunity Hub is ideally positioned to deliver these important goals,” he said.

Using an income-sharing initiative, OHUB@Jamaica is able to replicate the programme with additional cohorts, creating a steady stream of well-trained entry-level software developers and start-up founders, year over year.

“I am excited to partner with University of the Commonwealth Caribbean and collaborate on work that we believe will influence Jamaican students to pursue the unlimited and unfathomed opportunities that currently exist in the innovation economy as a path out of poverty and to multi-generational wealth creation,” said Rodney Sampson, OHUB executive chairman and CEO.

“We intend to leverage the platform we have tirelessly and meticulously developed to build additional global partnerships similar to OHUB@Jamaica to increase the participation of under-tapped, under-sponsored and under-identified minority communities and socially disadvantaged entrepreneurs,” he continued.

The OHUB team maintains that individuals completing OHUB programmes not only gain the hard and soft skills to obtain high-paying jobs in the tech industry that will make them valuable employees and put them on a successful life and career pathway, but they also gain the innovative, intrepreneurial and entrepreneurial skills required to solve the world's toughest problems via the launch of high growth startup businesses.

They argue that these entrepreneurially minded team members may go on to provide services to the companies they previously worked for, or supply products and services they have created to government and businesses. That is exactly where UUC's head is.

“Our mission at the UCC is to accelerate the technological and entrepreneurial ambitions of our students and alumni, and turn them into catalysts for business initiatives,” Executive Vice President, Academic Affairs Professor Bernadette Warner said at the partnership signing. “The OHUB's track record in this regard is noteworthy. This partnership bodes well for the UCC, OHUB and Jamaica, which makes it a triple win.”

Opportunity Hub was founded in 2013 by Rodney Sampson as a follow-up to the highly successful Kingonomics' book release and conferences, and is reagrded as the world's leading inclusive ecosystem building platform. It prides itself on focusing on authentic diversity, inclusion and equity as the key drivers in the development of high-demand technical talent, high-growth startup companies and multi-generational wealth creation.

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