DevCa winners point the way for Caribbean entrepreneurs

TECH CONFERENCE - THE top-placed team in the Developing the Caribbean (DevCa) 2015 Code Sprint Competition has developed an application to help potential entrepreneurs access information and resources critical to their development.

Nicholas Williams and Akua Walters of ‘Team Ambisie/Ambition’ proudly presented their ‘App’ at an awards ceremony at Mona School of Business and Management (MSBM), University of the West Indies (UWI), on March 23.

The competition was held during the DevCa regional technology development conference, March 5-6 at the UWI.

The conference was hosted by DevCa and Caribbean Mobile Innovation Programme (CMIP) — a part of the US$20-million Entrepreneurship Programme for Innovation in the Caribbean (EPIC) funded by the Government of Canada and executed by InfoDev/World Bank.  More

Top Teams in Jamaica’s Hacking Generation Y


The Winning Team: Shumba Brown, Gavin Smith, Howard Johnson and Dane Edwards

TECH NEWS - Four students from the Jamaica College (JC) emerged winners of the first Hacking Generation Y hackathon held in Jamaica, with their creation of an app, which aims to simplify the career selection process for students.

The students: Shumba Brown, Gavin Smith, Howard Johnson and Dane Edwards of the team, Code Veterans, were the leaders in the 30-hour hackathon organised by Jadan Johnson, CEO of the Vybz Media Group, which took place at Start-Up Jamaica, located in the Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS) offices in downtown Kingston, between April 11 and 12.

Dominican SMEs to benefit from Banco Popular and PayPal partnership

PayPal-logo-onlyMOBILE PAYMENTS -  Banco Popular, Dominican Republic’s biggest bank and online payment leader PayPal on Monday announced an agreement aimed at promoting competitiveness among Dominican SMEs, which can now withdraw payments received in their PayPal account.

The partnership, the first in the country between a bank and the online payment service, brings SMEs and other Dominican companies closer to consumers around the world, with a cheap, simple and secure mechanism to directly deposit in a Popular account in pesos or dollars, the funds obtained through the PayPal platform.

Until now Dominican users in the country had to have a US bank account to make international transfers and withdraw funds from PayPal. More

Cybersecurity incidents jump 66% from 2009 to 2014

The human element remains the “weakest link” in cybersecurity for local businesses and requires a more robust suite of security awareness programs for the country’s workforce, according to Deputy Director of Information Technology (IT) for the National Insurance Board (NIB) Dr. Raymond Wells. More

Where the jobs are: the most in demand ICT/tech skills 2015

6985_B8Q7KNdo_o-600x600TECH NEWS - On its current trajectory, the ICT/tech space is expected to get considerably larger and more sophisticated, as new technologies, applications and products and services continue to be developed to better address known problems, and those we did not even know we had.

Worldwide, and more so in the Caribbean, students and adults alike have been concerned about identifying opportunities that could influence their studies and help them to better position themselves for the job market. On the other hand, though occasional statements have been made about the current tech/ICT-related skills shortage and the demand for those skills into the foreseeable future, frequently, those statements are relatively general, without specifics or context.

Airbnb launch in Cuba: Sign of American tourism ‘gold rush’

airbnbTECH NEWS - Americans traveling to Cuba won’t yet find a Marriott or a Hilton for their stay on the communist island – but starting Thursday they can book a room in Cuban homes through Airbnb.

The announcement by the budget, in-home lodging site is the latest sign of the rush of interest by Americans in the long-off-limits Caribbean island. Prior to President Obama’s announcement in December of intentions to normalize relations with Havana, Cuba was mostly a no-go destination for American tourists. Mr. Obama’s opening to Cuba has triggered something of a tourism gold rush among Americans intrigued by the prospect of a peek at Fidel Castro’s Cuba. More

CWC Closes Acquisition of Columbus, Promises Further Caribbean Investment

technology-telecommunications-and-mediaTECH NEWS - After nearly five months of lobbying governments across Caribbean, British telecom giant Cable and Wireless Communications (CWC) has finally announced that it has completed a US$1.85 billion acquisition of Columbus International, one of the biggest and fastest growing telecom capacity vendors in the western hemisphere.

The announcement comes just days after Barbados, the Caribbean country where Columbus International is registered, gave its conditional approval for the merger.
CWC has vowed to invest $1.5 billion to bolster its operations across the region in an apparent bid to convince other countries to swiftly approve the merger. More

Jamaican tech entrepreneurs head for training in Jordan

JamaicaStartupBootcamp1The Vine List A social Shopping Startup formed at the First Startup Weekend Jamaica event staged by tech entrepreneurship non prfot ConnectiMass in October 2013, before heading to the government led accelerator Startup Jamaica – is one of three “local start-up technology companies have been selected to benefit from a US$90,000 ($10.3 million)-investment and a trip to Jordan-based accelerator company Oasis500.”

Last year, Oasis500 inked a deal with the Government and the World Bank to invest up to US$30,000 in the tech entrepreneurs under the Youth Employment in Digital and Creative Industries (YEDCI) project. The three start-up projects, RevoFarm, CrimeBot and the Vinelist, were selected from a pool of 60 potential entrepreneurs who participated in a 45-hour intensive boot camp with Oasis500 last September, dubbed Start-Up Jamaica. The camp provided the entrepreneurs with the necessary tools, concepts and skills to create and manage successful companies. More

Caribbean Startup Bitt Secures Seed Round USD$1.5 Million in Capital to Bring Digital Currency Financial Services to Emerging Markets

bitcoin1STARTUPS: Founded in 2013 by Gabriel Abed and Oliver Gale, Bitt is a digital asset exchange, remittance channel, and merchant-processing gateway based in Barbados. Bitt, Inc. has partnered with Avatar Capital to expand operations in the growing cryptocurrency industry. This latest partnership has firmly established Bitt as the frontrunner in the Caribbean’s burgeoning cryptocurrency ecosystem.

Powered by AlphaPoint’s state-of-the-art technology designed byveteran Wall Street traders, Bitt’s trading platform is a highlypowerful, user-friendly exchange that allows clients to tradesecurely and seamlessly. Bitt facilitates international Bitcointrading in 11 major fiat currencies, such as the US Dollar (USD),Great Britain Pound (GBP), Canadian Dollar (CAD), Euro (EUR), andBarbadian Dollar (BBD).  More

Caribbean needs to strengthen its Internet infrastructure

internetsign copyInternet Security expert Bill Woodcock speaks at a cyber security workshop at Grenada ICT Week, St Georges last week.Electronic security threats levels are on the rise globally, and the stakes are getting higher.

Kaspersky Lab’s Global IT Risks Report (2014) estimated that, after a data breach, small and medium sized business could spend up to $22,000 on staffing, training, and systems. Larger enterprises could potentially spend up to an additional $59,000 on staffing, $35,000 on training, and $75,000 on systems, the report said.

DevCa 2015 and the Caribbean Open Data Community

trendsOPEN DATA – How does the relationship between citizens and their government change in the age of the internet and online social networks? This is one of the questions that drive our search for knowledge and experiences to share at YoGobierno. One notion (among many others) that establishes a pathway for this change is open government data.

Government data is data and information produced or commissioned by government or government controlled entities.Open data is data that can be freely used, reused and redistributed by anyone – subject only, at most, to the requirement to attribute and share alike.

Globally, there is a growing community of people who are avid advocates of open data, and open government data specifically. The argument is that by allowing anyone to use government data, more transparency and democratic control can be achieved. People from the government, civil society or private sector would be able to use it to create new and improved products and services, government would be more efficient and citizens more involved.

For this to be achieved, the concepts, requirements, uses and potential impact of open data need to be communicated to citizens and their governments, which is why the open data community is constantly sharing actionable knowledge to implement open data practices around the world. Most recently, for example, on February 21, a global Open Data Day was celebrated in over 220 places. People gathered in conferences, workshops, and meetings of all sizes – organized by civil society, governments, or both – to learn what open data is, what can be achieved with it and how, and to discuss the challenges and roadmaps to follow this year. More