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Montserrat Missing ITC Elements

Dr Sammy Joseph - Lavabits donating science equip to MSS  (5)

Dr. Sammy Joseph Lavabits – donating science equip to MSS

It was the first year that the National ICT Council in partnership with the Ministry of Communications & Works host a full week of events which ran from November 10 to 14, 2014. In a release announcing the event, “The week of events were designed to promote the use of information communication technologies.

The announcement highlighted that students were to have a front row seat during the week, “to learn about making electronic music, the basics of animation and digital photography from several entrepreneurs on island as part of National ICT Week.”

Starting at the Montserrat Secondary School on Monday, entrepreneurs including Kemson Fenton of Raw Island Music Studio and Roydenn Silcott of Hypnotik Graphix taught interactive sessions throughout the week at each school.

The events of the week continued with the following activities mainly with what was dubbed, “AfterWork Chats” at The Lyme from 4:30pm from Monday until Thursday. ICT Council members Dr. Samuel Joseph, Nerissa Golden and Denzil West presented information and ideas on how technology can improve the personal and professional lives of residents.

Dr Sammy Joseph Lavabits donate science equip to MSS  (6)Monday’s talk – Montserrat as a Mobile App Development Hub. On Tuesday – Why do Local Businesses Need to get Online? Wednesday Nov 12 – Raising Kids in an ICT-Driven World.  Thursday Nov 13 – Can Your Phone Do this? – Tips on Using Your Smartphone to improve your business.

Students from primary to the community college prepared posters and PowerPoint presentations as part of the ICT School Challenge to solve a business problem using today’s technology. The winning presentations will be on display today, November 14 at the Brades Arts & Education Centre from 1pm to 5pm.

One of the major highlights of the week is reported with Dr. Joseph, CEO of Lavabits, a local software development firm who expressed that several critical elements are missing from the equation if Montserrat is to become a mobile application development hub.

He noted that the top companies across the globe didn’t exist 10 to 15 years ago and that Montserrat needed to keep pace with the new technologies which have changed how we live and do business. Playing devil’s advocate the developer said Montserrat couldn’t become a mobile app development hub as it was missing the key factors that created Silicone Valley and other software development centres.

“The development hubs at Silicon Valley, Boston and Seattle have this in common. Top universities in close proximity from which the brightest minds have converged and are constantly challenging the status quo. They also have people with a lot of money around them and willing to invest in the process to develop the next Google or Facebook.

“Montserrat would have to import developers and we do not have people who are willing to invest in research. The Government cannot fund it and they also don’t have the ability to pick the right companies to invest in,” explained Joseph.

The developer said another key factor is that Montserratians as in many other Caribbean territories subscribe to a very linear method of thinking. “We reward people that follow the rules. We continue to protect the old industries but they must die for new technologies to take over. Startup hubs need a liberal environment to flourish. They develop in spaces where strange ideas are allowed to be birthed and then strange solutions are sought. We are not willing to let go of the idea that tourism is the answer although we can see from neighbouring countries that they are in financial trouble although they are welcoming millions of tourists every year.”

Joseph noted that Montserrat’s economy was small and without a vibrant private sector, calliing it a false economy as it was driven by international donor funding. He added that the OECS Economic Union and the CARICOM Common Market also did not encourage cross-border collaboration and getting products to market would be a challenge because of the various regulations and different central banks which would need to give approval.

“The government would need to give money and forget about it but as they are run in five-year cycles, they would want to see success by the next election. There needs to be the political will for Montserrat to have a chance in this sector. Our education system also needs to be changed, mentors with experience would need to be available to guide the entrepreneurs through each phase,” the developer told the gathering.

However, Joseph believes there is still opportunity for Montserrat and other Caribbean islands to play a part in the software development sector.

“No major technology has come out of the Caribbean which means it is still there to be done. We have to decide we want to make money and not just enough for ourselves but to invest in others. Google, Facebook, Snapchat and the other tech giants were funded by other technology entrepreneurs who understood the system and were willing to support the next big thing.

“What is needed he said is an institution to gather like-minded and brilliant developers within the same space to collaborate. They would need access to professors, lawyers, marketers, accountants, and funders. Nine out of ten of the ventures will not make it so a different funding system is needed. Banks won’t fund startups. You need venture capitalists who will take a share in the company. All you need is one company to succeed which will make up for the nine which fail,” Joseph declared.

He said developers need to look at the problems which need to be solved within the government and private sector. Find a solution and then package it for marketing across the region and globally.

 

 

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

Dr Sammy Joseph - Lavabits donating science equip to MSS  (5)

Dr. Sammy Joseph Lavabits – donating science equip to MSS

It was the first year that the National ICT Council in partnership with the Ministry of Communications & Works host a full week of events which ran from November 10 to 14, 2014. In a release announcing the event, “The week of events were designed to promote the use of information communication technologies.

The announcement highlighted that students were to have a front row seat during the week, “to learn about making electronic music, the basics of animation and digital photography from several entrepreneurs on island as part of National ICT Week.”

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Starting at the Montserrat Secondary School on Monday, entrepreneurs including Kemson Fenton of Raw Island Music Studio and Roydenn Silcott of Hypnotik Graphix taught interactive sessions throughout the week at each school.

The events of the week continued with the following activities mainly with what was dubbed, “AfterWork Chats” at The Lyme from 4:30pm from Monday until Thursday. ICT Council members Dr. Samuel Joseph, Nerissa Golden and Denzil West presented information and ideas on how technology can improve the personal and professional lives of residents.

Dr Sammy Joseph Lavabits donate science equip to MSS  (6)Monday’s talk – Montserrat as a Mobile App Development Hub. On Tuesday – Why do Local Businesses Need to get Online? Wednesday Nov 12 – Raising Kids in an ICT-Driven World.  Thursday Nov 13 – Can Your Phone Do this? – Tips on Using Your Smartphone to improve your business.

Students from primary to the community college prepared posters and PowerPoint presentations as part of the ICT School Challenge to solve a business problem using today’s technology. The winning presentations will be on display today, November 14 at the Brades Arts & Education Centre from 1pm to 5pm.

One of the major highlights of the week is reported with Dr. Joseph, CEO of Lavabits, a local software development firm who expressed that several critical elements are missing from the equation if Montserrat is to become a mobile application development hub.

He noted that the top companies across the globe didn’t exist 10 to 15 years ago and that Montserrat needed to keep pace with the new technologies which have changed how we live and do business. Playing devil’s advocate the developer said Montserrat couldn’t become a mobile app development hub as it was missing the key factors that created Silicone Valley and other software development centres.

“The development hubs at Silicon Valley, Boston and Seattle have this in common. Top universities in close proximity from which the brightest minds have converged and are constantly challenging the status quo. They also have people with a lot of money around them and willing to invest in the process to develop the next Google or Facebook.

“Montserrat would have to import developers and we do not have people who are willing to invest in research. The Government cannot fund it and they also don’t have the ability to pick the right companies to invest in,” explained Joseph.

The developer said another key factor is that Montserratians as in many other Caribbean territories subscribe to a very linear method of thinking. “We reward people that follow the rules. We continue to protect the old industries but they must die for new technologies to take over. Startup hubs need a liberal environment to flourish. They develop in spaces where strange ideas are allowed to be birthed and then strange solutions are sought. We are not willing to let go of the idea that tourism is the answer although we can see from neighbouring countries that they are in financial trouble although they are welcoming millions of tourists every year.”

Joseph noted that Montserrat’s economy was small and without a vibrant private sector, calliing it a false economy as it was driven by international donor funding. He added that the OECS Economic Union and the CARICOM Common Market also did not encourage cross-border collaboration and getting products to market would be a challenge because of the various regulations and different central banks which would need to give approval.

“The government would need to give money and forget about it but as they are run in five-year cycles, they would want to see success by the next election. There needs to be the political will for Montserrat to have a chance in this sector. Our education system also needs to be changed, mentors with experience would need to be available to guide the entrepreneurs through each phase,” the developer told the gathering.

However, Joseph believes there is still opportunity for Montserrat and other Caribbean islands to play a part in the software development sector.

“No major technology has come out of the Caribbean which means it is still there to be done. We have to decide we want to make money and not just enough for ourselves but to invest in others. Google, Facebook, Snapchat and the other tech giants were funded by other technology entrepreneurs who understood the system and were willing to support the next big thing.

“What is needed he said is an institution to gather like-minded and brilliant developers within the same space to collaborate. They would need access to professors, lawyers, marketers, accountants, and funders. Nine out of ten of the ventures will not make it so a different funding system is needed. Banks won’t fund startups. You need venture capitalists who will take a share in the company. All you need is one company to succeed which will make up for the nine which fail,” Joseph declared.

He said developers need to look at the problems which need to be solved within the government and private sector. Find a solution and then package it for marketing across the region and globally.