Planning Ministry sponsors local start-up companies to meet with Silicon Valley experts

The Honourable Camille Robinson-Regis, Minister of Planning and Development is announcing that the Ministry of Planning and Development, via its Global Services Promotion Programme (GSPP) is sponsoring 10 start-up companies from Trinidad and Tobago to obtain a business mentorship opportunity from Silicon Valley executives during a technology conference in Jamaica at the end of November 2018. Dubbed Tech Beach, this is a premier conference in the Caribbean which has converged leading minds and founders from You Tube, Twitter, Facebook, Four Square and others among the leading tech companies from across the world.

This year, the Tech Beach conference is in its third iteration, and through a call for start-ups to apply, which is currently underway, participants will have the opportunity to receive mentorship from top executives in Pixar Animation Studios, Linked In, Air BnB and Facebook to name a few. The 10 start-ups will be selected via a judging process based on online submissions which include a description of their business idea, a video presentation and other details about their start-ups.

The competition was launched on November 17 and 104 applications have been submitted with 45% in the range of 25-34 years old, 15% in the 18-24 year age range, 29% in the 35-44 year old bracket and the rest ranging from 45 to 64 years old. Interestingly, 1% of participants are in the 12-17 year old category so far. Also, 56% of the current applicants identify as male and 44% are female. 13% of the 104 start-ups who have applied are in the business of information technology while others are in the areas of computer software (8%), marketing and advertising (7%), apparel and fashion (5%). There are also applicants in the area of events services, construction, education management, environmental services and more.

This sponsorship falls in line with the Government’s objective of providing opportunities for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), start-up companies, the unemployed and underemployed who will benefit from opportunities to grow their businesses through training and skills development. Another goal of this programme, which also dovetails with the goals of the Ministry’s GSPP, is to strengthen small businesses’ capacity to engage in global exportation of their services.

This sponsorship opportunity therefore encourages start-up businesses to maximize their potential by being able to access the skills of proven global professionals who can contribute to their growth externally.

Initiated on January 17, 2017, the Global Services Promotion Programme is a loan agreement between the Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago through the Ministry of Planning and Development and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). This Programme is geared towards micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and the general objective is to support the advancement of Trinidad and Tobago’s positioning as a renowned location for the global provision of Information Technology enabled Services (ITeS). Therefore setting the wheels in motion for economic transformation focusing on information technology as a catalyst.

According to Minister Robinson-Regis, “Greater autonomy, increased self-determinism, entrepreneurial ideas, networking, skills and talent as well as agility within the business landscape are emerging factors driving the contemporary models of global business. So amidst the current state of uncertainty in the oil and gas sector, the need for the Global Services Promotion Programme as a cornerstone in the foundation of an alternative, diversified, transformed and sustainable foreign direct investment pipeline is clear.”