Jamaica to host regional hackathon
JAMAICA will be hosting a regional “hackathon” which aims to employ the use of technology in finding solutions to real-life problems and to enhance growth in critical sectors.
A hackathon (also known as a hack day, hackfest or codefest) is an event where computer programmers and others involved in software and hardware development collaborate intensively on software projects.
Making the announcement Tuesday, Junior Technology Minister Julian Robinson said the event, to be held in two weeks, will focus on the areas of energy conservation, tourism and agriculture.
“We are looking at how we can relate to (and address) real-life problems in critical sectors in the region (through the incorporation of technology)”, he said.
Robinson was addressing a symposium on the impact of information and communications technologies (ICT) on growth, opportunity and service delivery in the Caribbean at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Regional Headquarters in St Andrew.
Robinson said one of the areas of focus would be on energy conservation and management, “which is an important issue for not just
us in Jamaica, but for all Caribbean countries”.
He said: “[We will explore] how can you use the technology to facilitate better management of our energy, while we are obviously looking for alternatives to heavy fuel oils,” he said.
There will also be focus is on the agricultural sector, and how to ensure farmers and producers are connected to buyers.
“That’s a huge issue here, where you have huge variances where farmers produce significant amounts of crops and they (go to waste). You will find, on the other hand, persons who are looking for produce and can’t find it and (we need to examine) how we can connect them,” he said.
The state minister said the Government believes that ICTs have the potential to drive transformation within the economy, hence the staging of the event.
The hackathon, he said, will be staged in collaboration with the Entrepreneurship Programme for Innovation in the Caribbean through its Caribbean Mobile Innovation Project.
EPIC is a seven-year $20- million programme, funded by the Government of Canada, that seeks to build an enabling ecosystem to foster high-growth and sustainable enterprises throughout the Caribbean. EPIC has three core activity pillars: mobile innovation, climate technology, and women-led entrepreneurship.