Back in 2007, I reinvented my then two year-old blog TechWatchCaribbean.com and renamed it SiliconCaribe.com. That was deliberate. It was a reflection of what I saw bubbling up around me, what I was hearing from colleagues and also, I always believed that the Caribbean could become a hot spot of tech driven startups and innovation, just like Silicon Valley in the United States. Maybe I had been reading too much Fast Company and Red Herring magazines.
Yet I believed what I’ve been saying alot last year, that we will deliver to the world, a tech equivalent of Bob Marley and Usain Bolt….pardon to my Caribbean friends for only using Jamaican references here…but you understand what I’m getting at right?!
Like you, I believed that we have great talent and ideas, even though we lacked a huge tech entrepreneurship culture, we lacked government understanding and support for anything outside call centres and telecoms and an angel and venture capital network didn’t exist. Further, our educational institutions, still instilled the go-to-school come out and get a “good” job at some bank or insurance company kind of ethos. But it all must at some point come together right?
In 2007, when I renamed the blog SiliconCaribe, my company had also just launched Kingston BETA and you could see the hunger, the how-do-I-do this curiosity in the 9o individuals who attended this new, networking meetup event for the Tech Community. They were stoked too, because the speakers at that first event were all Caribbean…Sandor Panton (Top5Jamaica Network), Rodney Browne, Ceo of eCaribbean Ltd ( St Kitts) and Mark Allan (a Jamaican, then Ceo of NetVision Interactive, we skype videoed from Vietnam) who was recruited from Kingston at the height of dotcom sweetness in the late 90s. They all shared what they had been doing, their successes, the pitfalls and the vision of their future.
Fast forward to 2012, we can now dub SiliconCaribe a place – a region, home to our Caribbean Tech Startups and established Tech Companies – our Caribbean Tech Community. It’s a name we’ve precociously given to our blossoming Caribbean Tech industry, a blossoming culture of entrepreneurship and innovation. This media blog, its namesake, is dedicated to covering the people, companies, events and culture that’s making things happen. Breaking News. Interviews. Insight. Reviews.
SiliconCaribe.com exists to highlight and support the burgeoning entrepreneurial ecosystem across the Caribbean. With over a dozen contributors, we now have individuals on the ground in Jamaica, Trinidad, Barbados, Eastern Caribbean and Diaspora (US, UK and Canada). We aim to be the source for news on what Caribbean people (entrepreneurs, developers, digital creatives, executives and investors ) and Caribbean companies are doing online and in the tech industry worldwide. We’re inspired by the passionate and smart individuals that surround us who are building and strengthening this community and culture.
How do you get to SiliconCaribe?
By hatching and testing your ideas…by making connections with the talent, mentors, investors you need…by meeting up with like minds at workshops like those produced by JAMPRO, VPAJ, ICT4D, Utech, UWI, UCC, NCU, SlashRoots and Bright Path Foundation and collaborating on projects or a startup. Whatever is happening in your country or section of the Caribbean, jump in! And when we say Caribbean we mean English, Spanish and French speaking Caribbean.
By attending Tech conferences like DevelopingCaribbean, Caribbean BETA and Caribbean Digital Expo; events like Jamaica Blog Awards an Kingston BETA and there are so many others. The fact that you are online, it means you have access to a global pool of talent, potential mentors, learning tools like never before. You have zero excuses.
We urge you to just startup…your blog, your ezine, online tv show powered by a flipcam or an HD video enabled cell phone…launch that mobile app, online shopping site…whatever it is…startup local, go regional and global. Start small, think big, learn from your mistakes and failures, then start again. The World is waiting for your ideas, for great Caribbean ideas that will impact the world. Go!
Award-winning and what’s popping in 2012
We are happy to have won the award – The Best Technology Blog at the Jamaica Blog Awards for the second consecutive year running. The Jamaica Blog Awards were last night in Kingston. For us it means we’re providing our readers with something of value and this year, 2012 we’re going to add even more value to this blog.
You will see more interviews with entrepreneurs, developers, designers and other rising or established stars in our Caribbean Tech industry and we’re including the Caribbean Diaspora. You will see SiliconCaribe.com adding more video content and information products. Like SiliconCaribe, this region, this home to our Caribbean Tech Community, we’re only just begun!