Wednesday, 26 March 2014

TAKE ADVANTAGE OF TECHNOLOGY – Entrepreneurs urged to use technology to grow business

Local entrepreneurs have been encouraged to utilise the avenues available through cutting-edge technology to develop the products that will not only be accepted on the local market, but products that will meet international standards.

That was the message from Junior Mc Intyre, CARCIP Project Co-ordinator for the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU), when he addressed the opening ceremony of a two-day workshop on Technology and Innovation on Monday.
From left: Gregory Bowen, Minister for Communications,
Works, Physical Development, Public Utilities, ICT and
Community Development, addressing the opening session,
while Junior Mc Intyre, Caribbean Regional Communications
Infrastructure Programme Project Co-ordinator, Caribbean
Telecommunications Union (CTU); and Jacinta Joseph, Permanent
Secretary in the Ministry, look on. (PHOTO: GERARD BEST)

Taking place at the Radisson Convention Centre on March 24 and 25, the workshop was part of a broader World Bank-funded initiative called CARCIP, the Caribbean Regional Communications Infrastruc-ture Programme, co-ordinated by the CTU.

“The underlying philosophy of the CTU’s ongoing regional workshop series is that the very same conditions that present severe challenges for Grenada and other Caribbean islands, are also creating unique opportunities for the region,” said Mc Intyre, delivering welcome remarks at the opening ceremony.

“The job of Caribbean innovators is to look past the challenges and discern the opportunities,” he said.

Lead facilitator for the CTU CARCIP Workshop, Bevil Wooding, underscored that reality. “The survival of the region’s economies depends on our ability to leverage modern technology to produce, compete and excel in the global environment,” said Wooding, who is an Internet Strategist with US-based non-profit Packet Clearing House.

Gregory Bowen, Minister for Communications, Works, Physical Development, Public Utilities, ICT and Community Development, described the workshop as an opportunity to deepen the Government’s ongoing thrust to develop the country’s ICT sector, in order to improve quality of life and create jobs in the local economy.

“Ultimately, the investment being made by the Government of Grenada is not just in the upgrade of the physical equipment, but in the improvement of the quality of the lives of our citizens. Our goal is to ensure that all of our people in Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique benefit from the development of ICT infrastructure,” Bowen said.

In March, a historic ICT Bridge connecting Grenada’s sister isles Carriacou and Petite Martinique to the global Internet, was formally launched at the Resource Centre in Hillsborough.

Jacinta Joseph, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, echoed Bowen’s emphasis on the dynamic link between infrastructure development to human development.

“Through CARCIP, we are aiming to advance the development of an ICT-enabled services industry in the Caribbean region by increasing access to regional broadband networks,” Joseph said.

Grenada is not alone in recognising the significance of ICT to national and regional development. At the 25th Inter-sessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) on March 10-11, Caribbean governments reaffirmed that Information and Communications Technology (ICT) plays a crucial role in advancing all regional development initiatives. CARICOM plans to focus over the next two years on developing a Single ICT Space as the digital layer of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME).

Launched in June 2013, CARCIP aims to improve the efficiency of regional telecommunications infrastructure development in the Eastern Caribbean and ultimately, throughout the wider Caribbean. Through the World Bank’s International Development Association, the project was allocated
a total disbursement of US$25 million, including loans to the three countries and a grant to the CTU.

The Grenada workshop was the third in the CTU’s ongoing series. The two-day event brought together local professionals in the field of telecommunications and regional experts in Information and Communications Technology (ICT), entrepreneurship, leadership development and innovation.

Among the workshop presenters were Dr. Farid Youssef, an expert in neuroscience based in the Faculty of Medical Sciences, the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine; Norman Gibson, an expert in rural development and environmental management in the Caribbean region; Eric Nurse, ICT Director for the Government of Grenada; Glenda Joseph-Dennis, an independent Business Development Consultant specialising in leadership and organisational development; and Joseph I. Gill, the software developer and entrepreneur behind mobile technology start-up TopItUp.TV. (LS)

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