The world may not be flat, but the Internet has created a level playing field where the opportunities are greater and there are more routes to creating and finding jobs, owning a business and achieving personal success. That’s the underlying message of the annual Caribbean BETA – Tech Entrepreneurship conference being held in Kingston, Jamaica on Friday November 16th, 2012 at Knutsford Court Hotel.
“We want more people to come to understand that being online, is not just about entertainment anymore, but also about entrepreneurship and jobs,” Ingrid Riley, Founder of ConnectiMass, the organisation that stages the annual conference. “This why the theme in this our second year is The Business of the Internet – Mobile, Social and Consumer driven-where are the opportunities?,” she added.
The first day of the conference will be a mixture of keynotes and panel discussions by a heady mixture of international, regional and local experts. The topics to be discussed are : When Technology Meets Government – What are the business opportunities ?; Reggae Music 2.0: How will it succeed in the Digital age of music, brand, culture?; Mobile – a phenomenal Caribbean opportunity; When technology meets the creatives industries – where are the business opportunities? and Funding entrepreneurship and innovation- what will it take?.
On the second and third days is a startup bootcamp of four intense workshops, which will also be followed up by a two-month-long pitching challenge with virtual business coaching. This is being done with our partners CIDA,InfoDev and JAMPRO, that are geared towards helping Jamaican tech/mobile startups leap from great prototypes to profitable companies.
“It is critical to support tech entrepreneurship in the Caribbean because the problems faced by developing countries will not be solved by entrepreneurs in developed countries. The solutions will come from locals,” David Mullings, Ceo of KeyStone Augusta an investment firm that’s a Diamond sponsor of the conference.
So while Caribbean BETA, is yes the annual tech entrepreneurship conference and Pitchfest competition, it’s also acts as the hub – that meeting place for people who aspire to meet with the others who are already building and doing things; to meet with people who are eager to share what they know and who they know, with others who are motivated and want that help.
“I am constantly inspired by the ideas coming from talented entrepreneurs I’ve met and worked with over the years across the Caribbean. Without question we will deliver to the world the tech equivalent of Bob Marley and Usain Bolt,”Riley added.
Launched last year, Caribbean BETA had 230 attendees from Jamaica, St Vincent, Barbados and Trinidad, had an exciting startup contest called BETA PitchFest which ran from 40 entries to 17 finalists to 3 main prize winners. We brought Silicon Valley to Kingston through keynote speakers Marc Canter, Founder of Macromedia, creator of Flash Player and Ceo of Digital City Mechanics and Michelle Messina, Venture Capitalist, V.P Business Development, Silicon Valley-based GuideWire Group. The first of its kind conference got extensive local, regional and Diaspora -based press, online and in print.
Caribbean BETA’s major sponsors and supporters are KeyStone Augusta, CIDA, InfoDev, JAMPRO, Digicel Jamaica, Innovative Corporate solutions, University of Technology Jamaica and Northern Caribbean University. Media Sponsors are ICT-Pulse, Jamaicans.com, NewsAmericasNow.com. The Event’s affiliates are ICT4Development Jamaica, SlashRoots Developers Foundation and GramStep.
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