Digital Jam 3.0 “Caribbean Edition”, which builds on the success of last year’s Digital Jam 2.0, on Friday announced the opening of its new App competition and a series of hands-on training and workshops to link Caribbean youth with digital work opportunities around the globe, according to a statement by the World Bank.
This multipartite coalition fostered by the Jamaican Government seeks to address the crippling problem of high youth employment, a challenge that affects the entire Caribbean region.
Digital Jam 3.0 “Caribbean Edition” leverages the creativity and talents of Caribbean youths and looks to establish the next global hub of IT, innovation and entrepreneurship in the region. The coalition behind this initiative includes beyond the Government of Jamaica, the World Bank Group, the Government of Canada and key partners such as the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), the Development Bank of Jamaica, Microsoft Jamaica, LIME, JAMPRO and other leading corporate entities.
For Jamaica’s State Minister for Science, Technology, Energy & Mining Julian Robinson, Digital Jam 3.0 – Caribbean Edition, “represents a continuation of our efforts to build and facilitate an ecosystem of innovation and entrepreneurship, particularly among our young people. It’s a platform to unleash the enormous creativity and talent that exists across the region to facilitate opportunities for economic empowerment.”
Digital Jam 3.0 “Caribbean Edition” also aims to stimulate the collaboration of youth across the region and create the critical mass required to make a significant impact.
“For many of CDB’s borrowing member countries, faced with myriad vulnerabilities, leveraging ICT in the creative industries appears to be an important transformational vehicle for economic growth and sustainable development as well as entrepreneurial development in the region, in particular among young persons, many deemed to be at-risk and vulnerable,” said Lisa Harding, Private Sector Development Unit of the CDB.
This regional initiative will step up current efforts to create an increasing number of opportunities for Caribbean youth to connect with world class IT industry leaders and top drawer training by global experts.
“We want to support the economies of the region by actively encouraging a culture of entrepreneurship, wired to international networks and centers of excellence,” said Sophie Sirtaine, Country Director for the Caribbean in the World Bank Group. “Digital Jam 3.0 takes an innovative approach to provide Caribbean youth with a stage to showcase their creative talent and innovation in the IT sector. This will be supported by further guidance, mentorship, and access to resources after the closing of the competition”, she added.
After the official launch at King’s House by Jamaica’s Governor General, Sir Patrick Allen, a series of activities will focus around three thematic areas – a mobile apps development competition; hands-on workshops to explore job opportunities in the global virtual economy and a ‘Get up, STARTUP’ conference in March 2014 to ignite the fire of young talents who want to make the bold step of becoming Tech Entrepreneurs.
The role of the private sector in Digital Jam 3.0 will energize the partnership not only through the provision of prizes, but also through the stimulation of employment and entrepreneurship. The positive impact is expected to last long after the lights have faded on the main stage of the conference next year.
“Microsoft Jamaica is proud to be associated with Digital Jam 3.0 and we look forward to helping the local entrepreneurial community to understand how they can leverage mobile apps to drive the success of their organisations,” said Marcelle Smart, Country Manager of Microsoft Jamaica.
The central idea is to ensure that technology meets talent in an enabling environment. This is one way to collectively contribute to poverty reduction and shared prosperity in the Caribbean.