The Birth of “Start Up Jamaica”
Above: Minister of State Julian Robinson
By the Caribbean Journal staff
Jamaica’s government says it is planning a new initiative aimed at supporting entrepreneurs on the island.
Jamaican Minister of State for Science, Technology, Energy and Mining Julian Robinson said the new initiative, “Start Up Jamaica,” would provide incubators for tech entrepreneurs in the country.
The project should be up and running in the first quarter of 2014, according to Robinson, who was speaking at the awards ceremony for the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica’s Website Development Competition this week.
“We’ll have somebody who will manage that incubator, who would provide marketing support, financial support – persons who can help you to build a business,” he said.
It’s part of what Robinson saw as a crucial shift toward “intellectual assets” in the country.
“We have to maximize that, and we know we have within the country so many youngsters who have the talent but they lack the mentorship, they lack the business support to take those ideas and make them into businesses, and that is really our objective,” he said.
Accordingly, this weekend the Ministry has sponsored “Start Up Weekend Jamaica,” which will see developers, designers, marketers, product managers and startup enthusiasts come together to pitch ideas and launch startups.
“At the end of Sunday, we’ll have judges who will look at what you have come up with,” Robinson said. “This is one way that we are collaborating to provide the facilitators, because we know we have an abundance of raw talent in Jamaica, but (we are now providing) the facilitators, to move that raw talent into products and ideas, which are bankable and which can become businesses.”