SiliconCaribe is the Caribbean Tech blog by Ingrid Riley, award-winning entrepreneur, tech blogger, speaker, digital strategist and benevolent troublemaker.
Here at SiliconCaribe, I chronicle who’s doing what, where, why and how in tech innovation and entrepreneurship and how it’s disrupting and amplifying mobile, social media, travel, food and beverage, health and wellness, money and finance, agriculture, sports, education, arts and culture in the Caribbean.
You will find exclusive news, reviews, interviews, analysis and trend reports on how Caribbean people and businesses, can and already are using technology, to innovate and improve the way we live, work and play.
So I write about things that excite me, what I believe will be useful and valuable to my readers. And I question things a lot and love to spot trends and share bits of facts that I come across through research or by talking to people.
It is another intention of mine too, to challenge my readers to think beyond traditional community and regional boundaries, lead conversations, and be part of what positions the Caribbean, for success in the Global Digital Economy.
I love blogging, it’s fun for me and I have a major LoveJones for Technology, fell in love 15 years ago and been involved in it ever since on various levels — co-founded a digital agency; invested in a couple of ahead of their time tech startups; written just over 2,000 articles on a range of tech topics; hosted and produced over 80 Caribbean tech events; judged tech entrepreneurship competitions and head over 1,000 startup pitches from entreprenuers from 10 Caribbean Countries. I have also spoken on Technology, innovation, Tech Startups, Digital Business across the Caribbean as well as the US, UK and on the African Continent.
No shock then that I am big believer in #DigitalCaribbean and in what I’m seeing emerging here in terms of talent, ideas and development and our potential to be successful in this fast evolving Global Digital Economy. It’s one of the reasons I named this blog SiliconCaribe 10years ago.
That said, I am not alone in blogging at SiliconCaribe.com, I curate exclusive news and analysis from some of the smartest, passionate and entrenched people in this Caribbean Tech Space too.
The readers of SiliconCaribe, are primarily Caribbean Millennials in the region and Diaspora, over 60% of my audience. And from what I see from the analytics, comments across social media — they are interested in what the Caribbean people and businesses are doing regarding innovation, tech entrepreneurship, mobile, social media as well as digital business and digital culture. More than half of them read from their mobile devices and are the connecting from Jamaica, Trinidad, Barbados, Bahamas, United States and Canada.
Still, SiliconCaribe is not just a blog, my team and I have made this Caribbean Technology Media brand, the leading producer of Caribbean Technology events. We’ve done over 80 Meetups+ Pitch events, 3 Caribbean Tech Conferences, 3 Caribbean wide Hackathons, a few Mobile App Competitions, Online Twitter Chats and Startup Weekends. We launched Caribbean Bloggers Week in 2016 and we will stage the first Caribbean Women in Tech coming up in September 2017. We love bringing together some of the smartest, passionate, forward-thinking and interesting people in this space to connect, share and collaborate.
Because of all of this, over the years, I’ve won a number of awards, Jamaican and Caribbean and been dubbed both Jamaica’s Tech Queen and the Caribbean Tech Queen for the work I’ve done in chronicling the rise of #DigitalCaribbean and bringing together the people behind it all. Kinda cool. And I’ve been recognised in many Caribbean publications, been the subject of a TED Talk and asked to speak a lot on what’s hot, outside of our usual sun and sea. All since 2007.
All of the above can be summarised like this-I spend way too much time online, traveling, talking, listening, observing, trying to connect the dots and connect people because I just love it-I I love blogging and I love what technology has done and can do for my Caribbean people.
Best Technology Blog 2011 ( Jamaica Blog Awards)
Best Technology Blog 2010 ( Jamaica Blog Awards)
Blog of the Year 2010 ( Jamaica Blog Awards)
Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica Game Changer Award ( 2012)
Techlinks Caribbean Innovators Game Changer Award ( 2013)
Caribbean Technology Events Firsts
– First Technology Community Meetup in Jamaica and the Caribbean, Kingston BETA and we kickstarted the Jamaican Tech Startup Community Scene and won two awards for this. ( 2007)
-Had over 80 Tech Meetups that’s seen over 7,000 attendees, and over 300 Entrepreneurs who’ve pitched from 5 Caribbean countries as well as the USA and UK.
– First Caribbean Tech Entrepreneurship Conference, Caribbean BETA ( 2011)
-Had 2 Caribbean Tech Entrepreneurship Conferences ( Caribbean BETA) that had 32 teams pitch their ideas, 500 attendees from 6 Caribbean countries attendees, plus Silicon Valley luminaries judging and speaking.
-First Startup Weekend Jamaica ( 2013)
-Co-produced the Caribbean’s first Agriculture Hackathon called AgriHack Caribbean.
-Co-produced the first World Bank and Government of Jamaica led- DigitalJam 2.0
-Provided Caribbean programming for SXSW Tech Accelerator Event
-Launched the first Caribbean Bloggers Week in December 2016 across 4 Caribbean and Diaspora Cities.
Kickstarted A Tech Startup Community and Movement – by Founder Ingrid Riley
As a tech entrepreneur and one with both a media and marketing brand, it certainly wasn’t my intention to kickstart a tech startup community or champion a Caribbean Tech Entrepreneurship Movement, I just wanted to bring together people who loved the Internet and Technology like I did, in a single place and regularly so we could share our stories to inspire and learn from each other. That spawned Kingston BETA event series and our vision and mission emerged from doing that.
We wanted to continue to connect people and information from disparate parts of the tech industry, build a community and make a difference — there were zero technology industry meetups, blogs, tech resources and publications— we had to start somewhere — something had to change. We became passionate about catalyzing this change. We saw how important it was to have more individuals in technology and in business as entrepreneurs, developers, creatives, mentors and investors talking to each other, sharing their stories and also encouraging others to take advantage of the opportunities of the Digital Age.
So it started as a passion project — we ( my then business partner Susan LeeQuee) , started by hosting our first networking meetup called Kingston BETA in January 2007 – which had 90attendees, from 4 Caribbean countries. After 7 years, mostly operating as a passion project for founder Ingrid Riley, being pulled by the momentum of the growing community, partnerships and connections, we have grown Kingston BETA into the first and longest running and highly impactful tech startup community event in the Caribbean.
I have been credited and awarded with kickstarting the Jamaican and Caribbean Startup Movement and that has led to me working with governments, universities, international development agencies, large corporate brands, youth groups on various initiatives and we’ve only just begun.