Silicon Valley Experts offer digital work opportunities to Young Caribbean techies participating in the competition
KINGSTON, Jamaica, March 3, 2014 – While several films competed for the Oscars in Hollywood, “Crimebot” a mobile App to map crime hotspots and notify users of crimes happening nearby, won the Grand Prize at the Digital Jam 3.0 competition. “Crimebot” was one of 160 finalists from the Caribbean region that were celebrated last night at the closure of the “Get up, Start-up” conference in Kingston.
The initiative was organized by the Government of Jamaica, the World Bank Group, the Government of Canada and key partners including the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), the Development Bank of Jamaica, the OECS Secretariat, Microsoft, LIME, Google, the Jamaica Gleaner, JAMPRO, InfoDev and other corporate entities.
More than 50 teams from Jamaica, Barbados, Dominica, Haiti, Antigua, Trinidad & Tobago and St. Kitts, had a chance to network with key experts from the Silicon Valley, and learn from leading tech companies how to find online work opportunities or get funding for e-business ideas.
“Digital Jam 3.0 provides Jamaican and Caribbean youth with a stage to showcase their talent, creativity and innovation to generate new products and services and at the same time create jobs and new startup companies,” said Minister of State for Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Julian Robinson.
Today, more than 120,000 Jamaican youth are neither in school, nor employed nor on the labor market. Youth unemployment rates in the Caribbean are alarming and governments in the region have put forth a number of initiatives to provide young people with skills and job opportunities. Digital Jam is one of them.
“Digital Jam 3.0 is about creating a brand to position the Caribbean as a potential hub for the tech Industry, linking the Caribbean youth with digital entrepreneurs, angel investors and centers of excellence in the Silicon Valley and across the Latin American region,” said Fabio Pittaluga, World Bank Senior Social Development Specialist.
Entries were reviewed by a panel of expert judges, including Bedy Yang, SFO of 500startups; JJ Geewax, Vice President of Engineering of Invite Media; Yousef Hamidaddin, CEO of Oasis500; Peter Corbett, founder and CEO of iStrategyLabs; and Jeff Burton, Executive Director from Skydeck Berkeley.
The top five winners in the competition are:
1. Grand Prize: Crimebot (US$ 10,000 and a contract with the Jamaica National Building Society Group). An app which maps crime hotspots and alert users to crimes happening in the neighborhood.
2. For beginners: Route 876 - a transportation app to help you find which bus you need to take and how long it will take you to go from A to B.
3. For games: Pan Chicken Dash - a chicken chase game, where users direct the chicken to collect all the eggs on various levels.
4. For expert developers: MediReview - a medical app to help doctors and patients suffering from non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and obesity to keep track of appointments, treatments and patients’ health conditions.
5. For e-learning: E L Jam Tutor - an education app for children to support learning in Jamaican classrooms.
“It's shocking to see how an idea can really become a reality,” said Gareth Thompson, who won the Grand Prize in the competition. “We have to have a serious next step, which is developing Crimebot further and trying to address the real issue: Crime,” he added.
Following the conference, all finalists will be offered follow-up trainings to turn their App into viable and monetizable products and services.