As companies struggle to survive amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, a host of Caribbean technology businesses are poised to benefit from a major boost which will spur their further growth and scaling potential.
Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Lab has forged a technical cooperation agreement with TechBeach Retreat to accelerate 250 tech-driven businesses with mentorship, technology services, networks, and connections to enterprise opportunities and investors.
To further support the technology ecosystem; TechBeach through its partners will execute a workforce development programme that sees 3,000 professionals upskilled with digital skills and 200 executive leaders from the corporate sector to undertake a corporate innovation programme.
Tech businesses participating in the three-year programme will be drawn from Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados and the Bahamas.
Therese Turner-Jones, IDB Jamaica Country Representative and General Manager for the Caribbean Country Group noted that the initiative comes at a time when the Caribbean is generally recognised as a challenging place to start and operate a business especially technology businesses, which represent a potentially high growth sector.
“While many countries have attempted to bridge the digital gap, existing policies, workforce and infrastructure in the region remain deficient. The regional private sector is at a competitive disadvantage as they continue to operate in a relatively low-tech, high cost environment, which is constraining growth potential and economic prosperity. Cutting edge technology will be essential to navigating the new normal and the delivery of products and services. It will also make businesses more efficient, cost effective, productive and profitable.” Turner-Jones stated.
“We have built our brand on a simple premise, connecting the best in tech in the world with the best in the Caribbean. We’ve proudly partnered with the IDB over the last two years to drive this mission and we’re excited about this evolution in our relationship," said Hamilton.
Tech entrepreneurs in the region often struggle because they lack access to resources to help them succeed. They’re competing against entrepreneurs who operate within layered ecosystems that facilitate growth at varying levels through knowledge exchange, funding, policy, mentorship and partnerships, Hamilton noted.
“We are working with global partners to build an accelerator program alongside our conferences to offer regional entrepreneurs a more level playing field and access to the tools, services and people they require to thrive, he added. ,
Terry -Ann Segree IDB Lab Private Finance Operations Senior Specialist noted that the region has had a modest record of successful home-grown tech companies.
“This partnership with TechBeach Retreat is another great opportunity to provide regional technology entrepreneurs with access to a world class technology acceleration programme, as well as benefit from insights from leading international technology professionals and industry leaders. We look forward to the innovative solutions that our tech entrepreneurs will develop and their demonstrable ability to deliver to large corporate clients.”