Premier Bush’s recent signing of a memorandum of understanding to create a technology park may place Cayman strategically in an excellent position within the region, as the move ties in with a Barbadian businessman’s vision of turning the entire Caribbean into a technology hub.
Turning the Caribbean into a major global technology centre is not an impossible dream, but it would require some serious partnerships within the region, according to Barbadian businessman Andrew Jemmott, managing director of Caribbean Webcast Inc., formerly The Caribbean Streaming Network.
“Our vision is for the entire Caribbean to export, trade and collaborate via technology,” he says.
Jemmott believes that the technological bar needs to be raised to enhance the profile of the Caribbean across the world. The first step is the formation of symbiotic relationships among the technological providers in the Caribbean to ensure they are all working toward the same goal of innovation and creativity, he says.
According to Jemmott, taking the step from being consumers of technology to creators and innovators would require the creation of regional synergies, involving entrepreneurs, investors, Diaspora talent, universities and secondary schools, policy stakeholders and banking institutions.
“Telecommunication networks, business to business trade and innovators within the electronics, robotics, software and energy efficiency industries would need to get on board,” Jemmott says.
His company is a media and technology group that capitalises on the advances in new media by offering rich online content in forms such as music videos, concerts, festivals, music and documentaries. It is the company’s aim to place the Caribbean’s culture and intellect on the global stage through a cross-cultural delivery of web content, such as via digital marketing of live webcasts, streaming audio and video content, marketing materials, real time traffic reports, artist licensing and digital distribution.
In particular, Jemmott would like to see the telecoms and technological providers working together to make the vision happen through these companies offering modern and competitive solutions, by upgrading infrastructure and security, providing faster networking technology and efficient storage facilities regionally.
“Infrastructural changes that would need to be made across the region include introducing robotics for task efficiency, regional data processing centres relieving the burden on governments though existing inefficiencies, thus allowing business to be conducted at the global pace. Energy efficiency also needs to be looked at allowing products to be created at competitive advantages,” he says.
Globalization demands a prepared region
Barbados recently launched the Barbados Entrepreneurship Foundation whose mission is to make that country the No. 1 entrepreneurial hub in the world by 2020.
According to Jemmott, Barbados is progressing in terms of legislation and infrastructure, but the vision is not shared, and specifically it needs to be created from the ground up, not from the top down. He says the Island’s public and private sectors are somewhat receptive to the idea. “There is still a mendicant mentality stopping the entrepreneurs from representing as they should fully, and demanding certain level of services and infrastructure. However globalization is upon us and we have to be ready or be lost,” he warns.
Recognise the talent
Jemmott believes that the Caribbean can begin to work together in partnership in such ventures.
“The Caribbean needs to practice not only reading literacy but financial literacy and risk management as well,” he says. This will foster an internal market place, which demands a high standard.
“If people can trade with each other the bonds tend to be stronger,” he confirms.
Jemmott believes that the region needs to stop looking at the situation in the Caribbean from a perspective of scarcity.