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CARIB | Nov 17, 2020

IDB Lab to boost 250 regional tech-driven firms

/ Our Today

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Therese Turner-Jones, IDB Jamaica country representative and general manager for the Caribbean Country Department (Photo: Facebook @IADB.org)

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Lab has entered into a technical cooperation agreement with Tech Beach Retreat to accelerate 250 tech-driven businesses over a three-year period, providing mentorship, technology services, networks, and connections to enterprise opportunities and investors.

This initiative will connect 1,000 regional technology entrepreneurs to a global community of technology experts and train more than 80 persons from the Caribbean corporate community to undertake corporate innovation programme.

Therese Turner-Jones, IDB Jamaica country representative and general manager for the Caribbean Country Group, speaking at the recent launch of TBR Lab, said the initiative was timely based on the challenges that entrepreneurs in the Caribbean face when starting and operating businesses, especially those in technology.

TECHNOLOGY INDUSTRY A POTENTIALLY HIGH-GROWTH SECTOR IN CARIBBEAN

While acknowledging the barriers to entry, Turner-Jones also recognised the technology industry as a potentially high-growth sector in the Caribbean.

“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 said.  

“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.”

Therese Turner-Jones, IDB Jamaica country representative and general manager for the Caribbean Country Department

She 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 one that is technology based.

“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,” she stated.

“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,” she added.

Turner-Jones: “We look forward to the innovative solutions that our tech entrepreneurs will develop and their demonstrable ability to deliver to large corporate clients.”

According to Turner-Jones, working with global partners to build an accelerator programme, regional entrepreneurs will have a more level playing field and access to the tools, services and people they require to thrive.

“We look forward to the innovative solutions that our tech entrepreneurs will develop and their demonstrable ability to deliver to large corporate clients,” she said.

Technology businesses from Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, and The Bahamas are set to participate in the programme.

As a full-service tech ecosystem, TechBeach Retreat connects people and organisations that aim to solve problems with transformation through technology. In addition, it facilitates skills training, provides resources and opportunities for transformation, partnerships and investments through its TBR Summits, TBR Lab, TBR Intelligence and Venture Island.

KH

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