(Extracted from the Observer dated June 11, 2014)
THE Government has partnered with telecommunications company, LIME, to provide Internet connectivity, furniture and equipment for the 'Start-up Jamaica' initiative.
'Start-up Jamaica' is a public/private partnership for economic growth and development, which aims to help Jamaica's innovators and entrepreneurs grow from being an idea to a product, thus increasing employment and access to foreign exchange.
It is expected to be launched later this year and seeks to provide mentorship and other business support for aspiring and new technology entrepreneurs.
The agreement was formalised through the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Minister of State in the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining Julian Robinson and head of retail at LIME, Stephen Price during a ceremony Monday at the Ministry's New Kingston offices.
In his address, Robinson thanked LIME and the other corporate partners who have come on board to support the initiative, which he said augurs well for economic growth and development in Jamaica.
"LIME has been extremely supportive from the beginning and we are very happy that we are at the stage where we are formalising the arrangements," he added.
Robinson said the initiative is intended to bridge the gap for talented Jamaicans who do not have access to funding and the ideal environment to capitalise on "great ideas in technology".
Price, in the meantime, said his company will, for the first time in Jamaica, introduce an Internet exchange dedicated to the facility.
"(This) will make the hosting of content here in Jamaica very easy for them; they don't have to go and use expensive pipes to go overseas to come back to Jamaica, they will have their own Internet exchange," he said, adding that the initiative will be the catalyst for great things to come.
He noted further that the sector is "ripe for real productivity and to bring back foreign exchange into the market".
Start-up Jamaica also seeks to move Jamaicans from being primarily consumers of technology to becoming producers of technology, and to position the country as a hub for innovation and entrepreneurship with the Caribbean region.
Through a partnership with Jamaica National, the facility will be located at Duke Street in Kingston. It is also receiving funding from the Development Bank of Jamaica for the initial stages of establishment.
Meanwhile, Middle East-based accelerator company, Oasis500, will invest in tech entrepreneurs who are interested in going through the required process for selection.