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Call to help start-ups

rhondathompson, [email protected]

Call to help start-ups

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A CALL HAS GONE out to private and state agencies to lend a helping hand to new entrepreneurs.

This is because some young people are afraid to approach agencies for financial assistance.

These comments came from Minister of Industry and International Business Donville Inniss  as he addressed the corporate workshop for the Industry Genius Mobile App Development Contest at Hilton Barbados yesterday.

Inniss said the technology industry had grown because of smart people who were able to relate to and obtain financing from true entrepreneurs who decided to risk some of their money with these “techies”.

He said the opportunity was present in Barbados where individuals with deep pockets needed to take a chance with young people in the technology industry.

“State agencies that are responsible for providing grant funding need to start making a paradigm shift from a policy perspective and consider opting for shares in the enterprise that equate to the value of the state’s investment.

“Instead of all-grant financing or loans, we must start to take some equity investment, especially in these technologically-based entities,” Inniss added.

Director of the Barbados Coalition of Service Industries Lisa Cummins called on Inniss to expedite the passage of that e-commerce bill.

She said: “It is going to be essential that there is a regulatory framework in place if we are able to develop and create the new industry.

“A regulatory environment in which business can do business electronically will be essential to protect customer and customer data and basic data protection laws need to be in place.”

The BCSI has partnered with Digicel Barbados to host the contest to give mobile app developers the chance to develop an app for a local company.

Cummins said the contest would give the app developers a “foot-in-the-door environment” many of them lack since they are relatively unknown.

Meanwhile, head of customer care for Digicel Andrea Worrell said: “We see this competition as a win-win situation for all involved; for you the developer, for businesses, for the economy and Barbados on a whole.

“We see the potential for the creation of employment, new businesses, new investments, new markets – in short, another avenue for the stimulation of the local economy.”

There are 12 companies and seven teams of app developers in the contest.

The workshop gave the developers an opportunity to interact with and select the companies. The first prize is a trip to the CeBit expo in Germany.  (LK)