SEVERAL of Jamaica's most successful young entrepreneurs inspired youngsters with their success stories at the three-day Digital Jam Marketplace and Job Fair which was held at the Jamaica Conference Centre recently.
"There are now immense possibilities for youths to be employed by companies online or to set up a small business to serve national, regional or global clients," said Fabio Pittaluga, World Bank senior social development specialist, Latin America and Caribbean region.
Director of Blueprint Consulting Deane Shepherd, one of the presenters, pointed out that despite its challenges Jamaica has a lot of rewards for dedicated, focused and innovative individuals, and that each successful job is the best marketing tool to get you another job.
The developer behind www.dominoj.com, Marcel Morgan, also shared the advantages of being one's own boss, noting that "it offers you the opportunity to work with your passion, gives you a more flexible work schedule, and gives the opportunity to work for multiple clients giving you a greater wealth of experience."
He, however, pointed out to the group that to be successful in self-employment one needs to stand out. "When branching into your own, you need to ask yourself 'what difference do I bring to the table? Why should anyone choose me among others of similar or lower rate?' It is important to have a good objective, be professional and build an online working reputation."
The Digital Jam 2.0 Marketplace and Job Fair was a collaborative effort between the Government of Jamaica, the World Bank, local private sector companies and other international developmental and tech-based partners in a creative response to the growing challenges of youth unemployment in Jamaica. It featured a number of seminars and workshops led by key local and international influencers in technology who are linked to the emerging areas of micro-work, e-lancing and crowd sourcing, such as Microworks, Mobileworks, Freelancers, and Samasource.
Those in attendance learnt about how they can grow a technology business utilising virtual tools, and also got the chance to interact with top executives from these leading firms. The event also saw mid to high-level skilled programmers testing their skills in a Mobile Apps Competition and a 24-hour Sports Hackathon.