As part of its ongoing efforts to build capacity in ICT, the Institute, in collaboration with some of its valuable partners like the Chaguanas Chamber of Industry and Commerce hosted a session on Wednesday 25th May 2016 that highlighted the need to utilize ICT in the ‘new’ economy. This session showcased software that can be accessed by many Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the country.
CARIRI recognizes ICT critical areas of deficiency at the micro-economic level such as technological readiness, business sophistication, innovation and the relative underutilization of ICT by the business sector. Because of this, an InterAmerican Development Bank project was launched with the aim of improving performance of SMEs through the application of ICT a few years ago and thus far, with CARIRI as the executing arm of this project, was able to reach over 450 SMEs in a variety of sectors.
CARIRI understands the potential of the non-energy manufacturing and services sector which are dominant within the country and significantly contribute substantially to economic growth and development. As part of our mandate we build technological capability and enhance operational efficiency among SMEs through secured financial support from the Inter-American Development Bank’s Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF). Some of these include Electronic Health Record software called CARIMed as well as CARIRI’s Point of Sales Software, these are just two examples of what CARIRI has been doing in the field of ICT over the last couple of years.
At the session entitled ‘Moving into the Future with ICT’, Chief Executive Officer of CARIRI, Mr Liaquat Ali Shah said “small businesses are very important to most economies generating significant wealth and employment. Competitiveness and innovation go hand in hand, for companies to grow and to continue to be successful, innovation is critical. There is the ever pressing need for relevant stakeholders to understand innovation in small businesses particularly in terms of ICT implementation and use in order to plan how to survive in today’s economic climate and to expand in the future.’
Ms Vashtie Dookiesingh, Multilateral Investment Fund Specialist at the InterAmerican Bank commended CARIRI on a job well done as the executing agent of the project. She stated that the overall objective of the project was to improve the business performance and competitiveness of businesses in the target sectors, which was expanded to include virtually all sectors in the country and that CARIRI had done an impressive job thus far by reaching out to the companies with potential for ICT implementation.
Mr Richie Sookhai, President of the Chagaunas Chamber of Industry and Commerce also gave some remarks to the audience gathered at the Centre for Enterprise Development, Freeport. Mr Sookhai, also a business owner, also spoke about how ICT can be utilized to ensure that businesses succeed in a global environment. He also spoke about the use of technology in the fight against crime and asked some very pertinent questions about how effective we are at using the data that is available.
At the session, members of the audience were treated to the new software built in-house at CARIRI to satisfy the demand for more personalized software. A very active question and answer segment took place as members of the audience, many of them small business owners, had numerous questions for the team.
At the end of the programme, the audience was invited to sign up for a free diagnostic, in which the team would go in to the business and determine what ICT tools would be able to assist the business to operate more efficiently and they would suggest implementations which normally range from social media to accounting systems to inventory management systems depending on the needs of the business.
Ms Vashtie Dookiesingh, Multilateral Investment Fund Specialist at the InterAmerican Development Bank giving her remarks about the job that CARIRI has been doing over the last few years in the field of ICT
On Thursday 21st April 2016, CARIRI’s mCentre hosted 15 competitors who were all vying for the chance to be the local representative in a regional app competition to be held in Jamaica later this year, called the Caribbean Mobile Innovation Project. Held at the Centre for Enterprise Development in Freeport, this one-day competition, CODESprint 2016, allowed competitors to showcase and highlight their apps.
CodeSPRINT 2016 was hosted by PitchIT Caribbean and CARIRI’s mCentre and is a mobile application development competition geared towards bringing together developers, subject matter experts, and idea generators all in one venue for the purpose of developing and promoting mobile applications.
From as early as 10am, competitors started their presentations and each was just as impressive as the last. The judges consisted of a Microsoft representative, an Appreneur and two CARIRI staff members, and they were able to question each competitor on their app and were able to provide valuable feedback going forward.
The competition was intense and highlighted how many undiscovered apps are out there waiting to get their chance in the spotlight.
Winners of the competition were as follows:
- First place - Stephan James – Wanderscape (a new and exciting travel marketplace and mobile app where you can discover, share & book activities by local insiders.)
- Second place - Keenen Charles - Tap Tag
- Third Place - Raees Rahim - Trini Questions : Trivia
- Most innovative app - Devin Escallier - Numgical
- Best Designed App- Raees Rahim - Trini Questions: Trivia
- The Microsoft Imagine Award: Corporates- Jeremiah Cruickshank
PitchIT Caribbean, under the remit of the Caribbean Mobile Innovation Project (CMIP), is a two-tiered partnership approach to support growth-oriented mobile app businesses in the Caribbean.
Administered by a University of the West Indies (UWI) Consortium led by UWI Consulting Inc. and also comprising the Mona School of Business and Management (MSBM) and the Mona Business Support Services (MBSS), PitchIT Caribbean is a part of the Entrepreneurship programme for Innovation in the Caribbean (EPIC), funded by the Government of Canada and executed by InfoDev/World Bank, spanning 14 Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries.
PItchIT Caribbean is designed to strengthen the Caribbean mobile innovation ecosystem and enable sustainable and competitive mobile enterprises to grow through activities that will target early stage innovators and guide them to market readiness.
The aim is for the creation of a regional pool of high-growth potential mobile start-ups with the capacity to release their apps to the market and raise additional capital to grow.
The mHub partners of PitchIT Caribbean are all focused on building mobile innovation communities in the various CARICOM countries by convening a variety of local stakeholder groups.
The mHub partners of PitchIT Caribbean are:
- Barbados - BCSI Barbados Coalition of Service Industries.
- Trinidad – The Caribbean Industrial Research Institute.
- Dominica - National Telecommunications Regulatory Commission.
- St. Kitts and Nevis
Cross section of audience
First place - Stephan James - Wanderscape