Tech entrepreneurs in Jamaica to benefit from DBJ grant funding
Milverton Reynolds (centre), managing director, Development Bankof Jamaica (DBJ), and Kirk-Anthony Hamilton(left), co-founder, TRBLab, affix their signatures to a Capacity Building Grant Agreement totrain and showcase some 30 Jamaican tech start-ups. ChristopherBrown, general manager, Project Management Office, DBJ, underwhose portfolio the Capacity Building Grant programme falls, lookson. (Photo: Travis Muschett)

Tech entrepreneurs across Jamaica are set to benefit from capacity grant funding from the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ), which will be accessed through TBR Lab.

TBR Lab is a high-level tech accelerator committed to the growth and development of high-potential tech entrepreneurs in Jamaica and the wider Caribbean. The DBJ has announced that it will provide a capacity building grant to TBR Lab in the amount of US$150,000 to the accelerator that will result in some 30 Jamaican tech start-ups benefitting this year.

This support for TBR Lab is the first in a series of grants for incubators and accelerators supporting Jamaican entrepreneurs that will be made under the DBJ's Boosting Innovation Growth and Entrepreneurship Ecosystems (BIGEE) Programme. This programme is funded by a Government of Jamaica US$25-million loan from the Inter-American Development Bank and being executed by the DBJ.

Up to 30 entrepreneurs will benefit from the DBJ's intervention, as using the grant, TBR Lab will train and showcase two cohorts of approximately 15 Jamaican tech start-ups in their accelerator over the one-year period.

Jamaican entrepreneurs in the programme will receive access to upwards of US$600,000 in perks and resources from global enterprises including Amazon Web Services, Stripe, Microsoft, and Google, as well as world-class learning opportunities delivered by successful entrepreneurs and others from the global tech industry.

Christopher Brown, general manager, Project Management Office at the DBJ, who has direct responsibility for the BIGEE programme, explains that, “at the DBJ, we view this relationship that we have forged with TBR Lab as significant, and it augurs well for the Jamaican tech entrepreneurs. Jamaica is certainly not short on talent and our entrepreneurs are to be found worldwide. This relationship with TBR Lab has already benefited some 15 entrepreneurs including Pree Labs, Star Apple Analytics, WiPay Jamaica and Farm Credibly.”

Kirk-Anthony Hamilton, co-founder, Tech Beach Retreat and TBR Lab, expressed pleasure at the long-standing relationship with the DBJ, which has matured given its evolution from ecosystem builder to accelerator.

According to Hamilton, “the team at the DBJ has always supported our vision and we are proud to have them with us on this journey. TBR has been providing value to entrepreneurs in the region throughout our entire existence, but our lab has allowed us to step up our involvement and impact, and the results we are seeing have been tremendous. There is a lot of activity happening in Jamaica and we are excited for this new phase in the island's digital economy growth story.”

TBR Lab is an outgrowth of Tech Beach Retreat that started in Jamaica six years ago and grew into a technology ecosystem, connecting people and organisations positioning them to evolve through technology with the skills, resources, opportunities and leadership to help them solve big problems and accelerate their transformation.

— Durrant Pate

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