Columbus and BrightPath Recognize Caribbean Tech Innovators – 6 Chosen for TechLink Innovation Awards
Six Caribbean nationals were recognised for their contribution to advancing technology innovation in the region at the launch of the BrightPath Foundation TechLink initiative in Grenada.
BrightPath in collaboration with its corporate partner Columbus Communications presented 2013 TechLink Caribbean Innovators Awards in five categories to Ingrid Riley of Jamaica, Nerissa Golden of Montserrat, Deanne Scott and Teddy Frederick of Grenada, Juma Bannister of Trinidad and Tobago, and Stephen Lee, a Jamaican-born US national.
“The launch of TechLink in Grenada is the beginning of a revolution in community based technology education for the region. The TechLink Caribbean Tech Innovation Awards celebrate the many hard-working, and often unheralded, pioneers who are advancing the tech sector in the region. We believe their stories and their achievements can serve as a powerful inspiration to others in the region,” explained BrightPath Executive Director Bevil Wooding during the launch.
Rhea Yaw Ching, corporate vice-president of sales and marketing at Columbus said that supporting the innovative use of technology in the Caribbean has always been priority for Columbus.
“Affordable high-speed, Internet access is becoming a reality across the region. Grenada, for example, is now part of an elite group of only five countries in the Caribbean where Columbus offers 100Mb Internet service to the home. However, more has to be done to encourage the creation of Caribbean digital content. BrightPath is certainly doing its part,” she explained, adding, “We believe this move by BrightPath to recognize the technology pioneers and innovations who are working to build the region’s technical community and the creation of local digital content is quite timely. We are pleased to support BrightPath in launching this exciting initiative.”
Stephen Lee, the CEO of ArkiTechs Inc, a Florida-based IT consulting and services provider received the TechLink Tech Diaspora Service Award, for corporate volunteerism and for his outstanding contribution to technology training and Caribbean mobile app development.
Jamaica-born Lee, is a founding member of the Caribbean Network Operators (CaribNOG) Coordinating Team and serves as a Telecommunications Advisor to the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU). He has also developed a suite of mobile apps to promote local content and culture.
Riley received the TechLink Game Changer’s Award for Social Entrepreneurship and her contribution to transforming the region’s approach to tech business startups. The founder of Connectimass, a non-profit which teaches tech entrepreneurship and innovation, called the award timely and expressed her appreciation for the recognition.
The TechLink Tech Community Service Award which recognizes individuals and organizations, making a significant impact at a community level in technology advocacy, education, public awareness and innovative solution implementation, was presented to Nerissa Golden for Outstanding Contribution to Caribbean Storytelling and Encouraging Participation Women in ICT, through her www.trulycaribbean.net web portal and entrepreneurship events.
Two Grenadians were given special TechLink Local Innovator’s Award which recognizes individuals showing promise or who are adopting an innovative approach to developing technology solutions that meet local needs and create global opportunities.
Deanne Scott was recognised for Grassroots Innovation and her contribution to e-Health and public awareness. Teddy Frederick was awarded was for his contribution to promoting local content creation through photography.
As part of a wider Memorandum of Understanding between the two companies, Columbus and BrightPath are rolling out this initiative throughout the Caribbean following the Grenada launch.
Head of Columbus Grenada Gail Purcell said that even though TechLink is a long-term initiative, it is already a proven success in Grenada.
“The hundred plus young persons and small business entrepreneurs who participated in today’s workshops are the pioneers of a movement that is intended to span the entire region, and is part of Columbus’ wider commitment to investing in development of the communities it serves.”
“While Columbus provides a robust network to customers with speeds of 10 to 100 Mbps to the home people need to understand and tap into the true potential of a reliable broadband connectivity in order to maximize it usage in our daily lives. TechLink provides that opportunity” Purcell added.
The TechLink program will offer communities across the region training in digital content creation, targeting youth, parents, seniors, educators and small business owners.
“Our vision for TechLink now is to take the seed planted in Grenada and translate it into Caribbean apps, Caribbean books, Caribbean photos, Caribbean videos, and Caribbean solutions to Caribbean challenges,” Wooding declared.