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The Silicon Mountain Project Partners With Walkbout Caribbean To Help And Empower MSME Tourism Entrepreneurs

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Travel, tours, experience and accommodation entrepreneurs will have an opportunity to gain access to critical resources through the recently established partnership between the Silicon Mountain Project and Walkbout Caribbean’s “Walkbout Ignite Programme” designed to help and empower tourism entrepreneurs maximise their presence on the walkbout.com platform.

The Walkbout Ignite Programme brings together industry leaders and experts to support tourism related entrepreneurs and related groups, empowering them to grow their businesses. Running year round, the Programme includes the launch and promotion of participants’ products and services on the Walkbout.com Marketplaces, access to monthly workshops hosted by industry leaders, networking events, and one-on-one capacity-building sessions with Partner Marketing, Private Label, Branding, Business Insights, Advertising, Merchandising and Supply Chain teams, while providing them with impactful tools and resources to help support and grow their businesses.

At Walkbout.com we are supporting MSME Tourism entrepreneurs and related small businesses as we know firsthand the challenges of building a business from the ground up.

For more information on The Silicon Mountain Project CLICK THIS LINK

Technology

Digital Society Transformation Process Begins In Jamaica

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Prime Minister, the Most Hon Andrew Holness, speaks at the Invest Jamaica 2022 Business Conference, at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in St. James, on Tuesday (November 29). The two-day conference, being held November 29 and 30, is hosted by the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, in collaboration with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). PHOTO: YHOMO HUTCHINSON

Prime Minister, the Most Hon Andrew Holness, says the Government has commenced the process of transforming the country into a digital society.

Speaking on day one of the two-day Invest Jamaica 2022 Business Conference at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in St. James on November 29, Mr. Holness said this will reduce public bureaucratic procedures, which will improve the nation’s attractiveness as a viable investment destination.

“We want to make Jamaica an efficient place to do business, and a large part of that efficiency is to improve the public bureaucracy and to gain that improvement we have adopted, internalised and mainstreamed in government – the notion of Jamaica becoming a digital society,” he said.

“We’re taking that very seriously, because seamlessness is just as important as stability and sustainability in business. We are trying to become the most advanced country in the region, in terms of our digital platforms, interconnectivity, and information technology,” the Prime Minister continued.

Against that background, Mr. Holness indicated that the Government has embarked on a National Broadband Initiative, which aims to have every household and every community connected to the Internet by 2025.

“We have put together a plan to build out our broadband infrastructure in Jamaica. We call this the national broadband initiative, and the objective is to ensure that everyone in Jamaica has access to reliable, fast and consistent broadband, but more importantly, that all our businesses have access to broadband connectivity,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister told investors at the conference that Jamaica is on a mission to attain top-10 ranking for places to invest in the world.

Mr. Holness argued that Jamaica’s strong fiscal management and fiscal policies over the last decade have placed the country on track to achieving that goal.

“The Jamaican story of economic recovery started over a decade ago when the country came together as one. We made a decision that we will be, regardless of Administration, a fiscally responsible Government and we went about putting in the institutions to ensure that Jamaica was a fiscally responsible State,” the Prime Minister said.

“So, if you are considering investing in Jamaica, you can rest assured that across Administrations, regardless of changes in Government, the political economy of Jamaica has changed its DNA to a state that believes in strong fiscal management of our economic affairs,” he added.

Mr. Holness said that Jamaica’s “remarkable economic rebound” from the COVID-19 pandemic should also serve as another key indicator that “this is a good and exiting time to invest in Jamaica”.

He identified tourism, agriculture/agro-business and logistics as areas of great investment opportunities in the island.

The conference is being hosted by the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, in partnership with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and aims to position Jamaica as the next global investment destination of choice.

More than fifty countries with over 600 registrants attend the conference, which is being held under the theme ‘Jamaica the Nearshore Delivery Hub of the Caribbean’.

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Technology

Businesses Encouraged to Report Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities

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As the Government continues to build resilience in the country’s cyber ecosystem, local businesses are being encouraged to report security vulnerabilities within their organisations.

Head of the Jamaica Cyber Incident Response Team (JaCIRT), Lt. Col. Godphey Sterling, made the appeal while addressing a recent Jamaica Information Service (JIS) Think Tank.

He said that such reports will better help in tackling cybercrimes, by keeping the Government aware of what is happening in the various sectors, and improve how businesses protect clienteles’ data.

“We recognized that based on industry standards and international best practices, there are some basic things that need to be in place, and the role of Government is to facilitate this process,” Lt. Col. Sterling said.

“The manner in which vulnerabilities and breaches are remediated, redacted and reported must be agreed to by all parties,” he noted.

While there is no legislation that mandates the disclosure of weaknesses in cyber defence or cybersecurity breaches within companies, Lt. Col. Sterling said the JaCIRT stands “ready to continue to push [this] dialogue”.

He commended those entities that have and continue to work with the JaCIRT and urged others to come on board.

The Lt. Col. is encouraging businesses to not just redact identified vulnerabilities but also ensure that they adhere to the necessary privacy and data-protection laws.

“The advent of the Data Protection Act of 2020 means that data security and privacy have become more important as companies seek to become either data processers or controllers.

“It, therefore, means that you have to take all necessary steps to secure the environment within which you capture, store, transmit or process that data,” he pointed out.

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New Ideas Expected Through Tourism Innovation Incubator

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Several new and innovative ideas are expected to be generated within tourism, through the recently launched Tourism Innovation Incubator.

Speaking at the launch, held during Tourism Awareness Week on September 30, Portfolio Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, said that tourism is about ideas and creating experiences.

“The idea of this Incubator is to create a framework to mine, hone, convert and monetise ideas,” Minister Bartlett said.

“The more ideas that we can generate within tourism is the more experiences we can develop, and the more experiences we develop is the more attractive we are to visitors,” he added, noting that visitors travel to a destination to consume and develop their passions.

The Minister outlined that the Incubator will offer numerous services, including executing workshops with participants in the refining of their ideas; providing research support; training in pitch delivery; providing opportunities for mentorship and networking; teaching participants about key topics, such as intellectual property and the importance of being formalised through informational sessions, and sourcing potential partners or investors to help participants in prototype and product development.

The initiative, which is being led by the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), is guided by the Blue Ocean Strategy, which calls for the creation of business models that depart from traditional ones, based on competition and standardisation.

Selection of ideas for the Incubator will be done by a committee of members from TEF and the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ). In addition to being tourism products or representing technology in tourism, each idea must be an innovation or invention that will add value.

Each participant will be required to outline how their idea will add value to the tourism landscape and provide indicators for measuring the same, such as tourism spend, visitor satisfaction, and contribution to the tourism workforce. The idea must also have a significant effect on the tourism industry.

Persons interested in participating in the Incubator must be 18 years or older by the October 14 submission deadline.

Additional submission criteria for the Tourism Innovation Incubator can be found on TEF’s website at https://tef.gov.jm/tourism-incubator/.

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Logistics & Transportation

New Transportation App DoGetGo Launched

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PHOTO: YHOMO HUTCHINSON
Minister of Transport and Mining, Hon. Audley Shaw (second right), observes as founder of technology company, Rydeum Caribbean, Mark Hannah (second left) uses the new mobile app, DoGetGo on his phone, following the launch of the app, at the Half Moon Resort in Rose Hall, St. James on September 22. Sharing in the moment (from left) are, President of the Jamaica Union of Travellers Association (JUTA) Montego Bay Chapter, Simon Lawrence, and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Rydeum Caribbean, Mark Vanterpool.

Jamaicans and visitors to the island are now able to secure ground transportation services in real time using the ride-hailing mobile application (app) DoGetGo.

The service is being provided through a partnership between technology company Rydeum Caribbean and the Jamaica Union of Travellers Association (JUTA) Montego Bay Chapter.

The DoGetGo app, which is available on android and IOS platforms was officially launched on September 22, at the Half Moon Resort in Rose Hall, St. James.

In his remarks, Minister of Transport and Mining, Hon. Audley Shaw said that the app marks another step towards a more technologically inclusive and efficient transportation sector in Jamaica.

Minister Shaw lauded Rydeum Caribbean for the innovation, touting it as a paradigm shift towards sustainable transport.

“I support the introduction of innovative technologies and new business ventures to support the transportation sector. This super app being launched … has been developed in response to moving transport in a smarter way. It promises to enable Jamaicans to work together in a single ecosystem and inspire change,” he stated.

He further noted that the app has come at a time when commuters demand timeliness, flexibility, and convenience in the sector.

“The hope is that with this super app, there will be greater freedom and power to transform the transportation industry while simultaneously empowering all Jamaican businesses to access technology for the delivery of their products and services at the same level experienced globally,” Mr. Shaw said.

In an interview with JIS News Rydeum Caribbean’s founder, Mark Hannah, said DoRide, the first of nine experiences to go live on the newly launched DoGetGo app works similarly to Uber and Lyft, allowing users to hail ride remotely from any location using a smart phone.

He said the company intends to expand the app to offer eight additional services such as food and grocery delivery, sending and receiving of monetary payments, booking tours, and making medical appointments.

“It’s [the app] ran by JUTA drivers. Now eventually we’ll have more people in JUTA on it but right now … we’re starting out with JUTA drivers. So, what will happen is people will be able to actually get on their phone and it don’t matter where they are, they will be able to book a ride,” Mr. Hannah explained.

“They’ll be able to get the rate, get the fee, see the drivers’ ratings, and they’ll be able to travel anywhere in the country. This is the first step for launching to DoGetGo,” he continued.

President of JUTA Montego Bay, Simon Lawrence, said the new digital space will bring ease to its consumers in Western Jamaica.

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Technology

Innovation-Based Tourism Incubator to Be Launched In Jamaica

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The Ministry of Tourism will be launching its Innovation-based Tourism Incubator on September 30, during the observance of Tourism Awareness Week.

Speaking at a Jamaica Information Service (JIS) ‘Think Tank’ on September 12, Portfolio Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, said the incubator “will ferret new ideas, and then incentivise the ideas by providing funding support.”

He noted that the facility’s establishment is part of the Ministry’s overall policy direction to build knowledge within the sector, through young people.

“We will be having a bootcamp for these young people whose ideas we are pulling, then we will be matching their outcomes… with private sector entities,” Minister Bartlett said.

He stressed that the incubator is an added channel for creating new skill sets within the tourism sector and encouraging more young people to get involved in the industry.

“If a young person comes up with a new idea about some process in tourism, or how to do a particular chore at a hotel better, or how to create an added value to an attraction which we now have, we can pair them with the particular entrepreneurial group, hotel [or] attraction [or] we can tie them to the technology that is giving rise to the innovative thoughts that they have generated,” the Minister explained.

The incubator’s rollout is being led by the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF). A special division was created within the entity to implement the initiative.

Mr. Bartlett indicated that the facility is an “all of government activity”, as it will also be linking to the innovation incubator programme being undertaken by the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service.

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