Trinidadian Startup to launch social and commerce platform F1RST.com on February 1

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f1rst.com – Caribbean Startups

STARTUPS – So what do you get when you take the best or most popular features of FourSquare, Yelp, TripAdvisor, Groupon, Facebook, Online Yellow Pages and Google Search?….. a mashup of a social and commerce platform called F1RST.com – that was hatched in Trinidad by a team of Caribbean Tech Entrepreneurs.

This is how they describe themselves “From Caribbean Food, Shopping & Nightlife, to big Deals & Discounts, www.F1RST.com connects you to Caribbean experiences you LOVE and NEED. Our first product is a web and mobile app that easily allows you to access anything your looking for, from a nearby gas station to your favourite local restaurant.”

Wolmer’s teen takes on tech entrepreneurship

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Startup Weekend Jamaica

STARTUPS- EIGHTEEN-YEAR-OLD Wayne Dawkins is already taking the steps to realise his dreams of becoming one of Jamaica’s tech entrepreneurs.

The Wolmer’s Boys’ sixth former heeded the advice of one of his role models and was inspired to attend StartUp Weekend Jamaica recently. During that event, he was invited to join one the teams that would spend 54 hours to create the business model for a new ICT StartUp.

Helping Caribbean Entrepreneurs Get Down to Business

By Jason Kohn, Contributing Columnist

There’s plenty to love about Jamaica: the weather, the food, the music, the gorgeous beaches and mountains. But there’s one area where, according to one study at least, Jamaica is lagging behind: information technology.

This shouldn’t necessarily surprise. While some Latin American countries, especially Brazil, Chile, and Argentina, are seeing significant economic and IT growth, investment in the Caribbean is growing much more slowly.

But if you think there’s nothing interesting happening in the Jamaican and Caribbean tech scene, you’d be wrong. As the Kingston BETA tech conference held last month in the Jamaica’s capital demonstrates, there’s a burgeoning tech startup community in the region, and many people dedicated to helping that community grow and thrive. More

Disclaimer. We’re mentioned in this blog as well as our parent organisation ConnectiMass

Worth Reading: Expert insights 1: Cyber threats and security in the Caribbean 2013 update

A few weeks ago, the Guardian Newspaper in Trinidad and Tobago published an article, Caribbean cyberttacks on the rise?, in which it listed 20 cyber crime stories that were reported between April 2012 and March 2013. Unlike previous years, where they might be just a handful of news reports on unauthorised intrusions, at the very least, more of them are finding their way into the public domain, which hopefully is fostering greater awareness of cyber threats and the need for greater vigilance and security.

When we launched our Expert Insights series last year, we asked network/IT security professionals across the region about cyber intrusion and security in the Caribbean, in the hope of gaining a better understanding of among other things:

  • the prevalence of such intrusions and threats in the region
  • key misconceptions organisations tend to have about network security, and
  • solutions tat could be considered.

We kick off the 2013 update of this series with Deon Olton. Deon, who is based in Barbados, has over 18 years’ experience in IT field, including over 10 years as a Telecommunications and Network Vulnerability Consultant. For the last five years he has been an EC-Council Certified Ethical Hacker. Currently, Deon is the Co-Founder of the Caribbean Cyber Security Centre (CCSC), which was officially launched earlier this year, and offers a comprehensive suite of network testing services.

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The next KingstonBETA is this Thursday, April 25th, 2013. Join us!

The next @KingstonBETA staged by our parent organisation Connectimass is this Thursday! To our Caribbean and global friends and colleagues We’ll be live tweeting as usual. Follow us @kingstonbeta and the hashtag #kgnbeta. Spread the message- We’re on a mission to help Caribbean young people and women become successful tech entrepreneurs!

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Worth Reading: 8 Real-World Stories Of Why Startups Fail

failureisanoprtionWhile we work on gathering our Failure stories to share here on SiliconCaribe.com with you. Here’s a sweet article you can learn from also. It’s one of the things I feel passionately about – removing the stigma of failure in our Caribbean culture. Failure in my expeirence just means you’ve tried something and learnt something. Those who are successful, keep going.

Failure: it’s a common theme among start-up founders. In the Silicon Valley, it’s almost a badge of honor. But for all the dire statistics out there, what are the real reasons some start ups don’t make it? And what lessons can we learn from them?

We asked 8 (now) successful founders from the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) to share why a prior start-up didn’t make it – and what they’re doing differently knowing what they know now.

 1. We Did Not Have A Narrow Focus

My first start up team had a very big idea about encouraging sustainability. If we could get individuals to track how often they took small, sustainable actions – refilling water bottles, reusing paper bags, etc. – we could create a culture where reuse was prevalent. Not only were we trying to change behaviors – difficult! – but we assumed that gamification would be a critical element. And that education was a critical element. And that social sharing was critical. There was more, too.

If I were to restart that business, I would focus on the root issue of encouraging sustainable actions and tackle only one aspect of it. We have seen many companies pop up in this space, but each only focuses on one of the many complex ideas. At the start, be great at something small. Then expand. - Aaron Schwartz, Modify Watches

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Soo Worth Reading: How To Become a Millionaire In Three Years

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Jason Baptiste

I found this blog post a while back and I happened on it again on Twitter and I read it, was again inspired and so I had to share it. This is the kind of article very aspiring and current Caribbean tech entrepreneur, developer, designer, college student and college graduate should read and re-read. It’s written by Jason Baptiste. WHo is he? Jason L. Baptiste, is currently the CEO and co-founder of Onswipe, a platform for tablet publishing and advertising. In 2011 Jason was named to Forbes 30 Under 30, Businessweek’s Top 25 Under 25 entrepreneurs, INC. Magazine’s 30 Under 30, and the CEO of one of TIME Inc’s 10 Best Startups. Jason is currently a professional author of the upcoming book “The Ultralight Startup” being published by Penguin Books.

I’m going to go and replace 3 years with a “short time frame”. Some things to focus on:

Market opportunity- A million dollars is not a lot in the grand scheme of things, but it certainly is a lot if the market opportunity is not large enough. Even if you put Bill Gates and Steve Jobs as founders in a new venture with a total market size of 10 million, there is no way they could become too wealthy without completely changing the business (ie- failing).

Inequality of information- Find a place where you know something that many undervalue. Having this inequality of information can give you, your first piece of leverage. More

Cayman Tech Culture rising. Kudos to the ones who make things happen!

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Paula Fierro | Garth Humpreys

CAYMAN (Tech Culture)- The Tech Culture is rising in the Cayman Islands thanks to a few forward thinkers. I remember meeting Garth Humphreys a Caymanian web designer and programmer with a serious passion for developing games. He later  formed the Facebook Group Cayman Software developers. In fact I did a post on him back in 2011- “Wubble – the Cayman-made iPhone App and What’s next for the guy behind it” .

Worth Attending: Stanford Launches Building Business Models Course for Online Program in Innovation and Entrepreneurship

FOR ENTREPRENEURS -Would you build a house without putting together a blueprint first? No. Similarly, an innovative idea needs a structured process to bring it to market. The business model is a blueprint for planning, and then building, an innovative enterprise. To assist professionals in creating new ventures, Stanford University will introduce a new online course, Building Business Models, in April. “What makes the difference between success in the lab and success in the marketplace is the business model which enables us to navigate the creative process in a structured way,” says faculty course director Haim Mendelson, professor of electronic business and commerce at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

What do you expect from Trinidad and Tobago Startup Weekend, we ask Kirk Lashley lead organiser just that.

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Kirk Lashley – Trinidadian Tech Entrepreneur

TRINIDAD-Though currently based in Chicago USA, working on this 5th startup WeDeliver.us, Kirk Lashley is always thinking about his home – Trinidad. In fact he plans to return there next year still running his startup and also there to help the Trinidadian and Caribbean Startup ecosystem to grow. It’s his passion. He has kicked off his road back home by being the lead organiser of Startup Weekend in Trinidad which takes place on May 22-24th, 2013 on the campus of the University of the West Indies.
Trinidad and Tobago Startup Weekend is the latest addition to the rash of Startup Weekend franchises that have emerged in the Caribbean over the past two years. Startup Weekend fever has so far caught on with Jamaica, Martinique, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and also Haiti.

News Byte: Bahamian Startup BahamaLive.com lands official live blogging partnership for Carifta Games 2013

bahamaliveBAHAMAS - Bahamalive.com  the less than a year old Bahamian based startup that provides the service of live reporting Caribbean events by live blogging and live tweeting in addition to photographing Caribbean event lives online landed the gig of being the only official live blogging service for Carifita Games which will be help on March 29-April 1, in the Bahamas. Bahamalive.com is founded by Bahamian female tech entrepreneur Noelle Khalila Nicolls.