#Freeport, GB, November 17, 2018 – Bahamas – According to Minister of State for Grand Bahama, Senator Kwasi Thompson, it has been estimated that the 2nd Grand Bahama Technology Summit has added over a half million dollars to the Grand Bahamian economy.
During his opening remarks at the 2nd Grand Bahama Technology Summit on Wednesday, November 14, 2018, at the Grand Lucayan, Minister Thompson noted that the Summit has exceeded expectations, resulting in the Office of the Prime Minister having to close online registration due to spaces filling up quickly.
“For this we are truly thankful,” said Minister Thompson. “Our journey has just begun and we look forward to new initiatives in the coming months.
“As we embark upon these three days (at the Summit) and we chart the way forward I encourage us to move forward with the mindset of ‘go big, or go home’. In Grand Bahama we can’t afford to think small or be small-minded. I believe, way down in my spirit that big things are about to happen but only if we are prepared to think big, believe big and Go big!”
Adding that it levels the playing field, and brings the world’s leading companies to an Island that some said would never recover. Information Technology is a part of business, it is a business and it attracts business.
The Minister of State for Grand Bahama said that the Government is concentrating on the revitalization of Grand Bahama’s economy by giving renewed energy to restoring well-known industries and expanding those newly budding.
“Though we have not yet fully achieved it, make no mistake about it, full restoration is in our grasp,” said Minister Thompson.
“Last year’s Summit led to the formation of the Technology Hub Steering Committee tasked to produce a strategic plan for Grand Bahama. This committee is comprised of various stakeholders with an aim to create a framework for addressing legislative changes, private public partnership, and policy reform. Efforts to engage in the promotion of Grand Bahama as a technology hub for our region also began. This was evident through our direct involvement in international trade missions designed to promote The Bahamas, and Grand Bahama.”
Minister Thompson pointed out that one year later, since the launch of the first GB Tech Summit, Grand Bahama has new partners, new businesses, new jobs and new programs.
He said companies like GIBC Digital, which established an office in Grand Bahama only a few months ago, has invested significantly in Grand Bahama, but more importantly in Grand Bahamians. They have trained and hired 30 Bahamians as well as they continue to be good corporate citizens.
Also, the Minister highlighted Itelbpo, a tech call center, which has been in Grand Bahama since 2013, but which recently announced its expansion and hiring of 100 additional Bahamians, 25 of whom have already been hired.
“We also welcome the principals of international tech companies like Dev Digital and Skyward Techno who have recently applied to the Government to set up offices in Grand Bahama, proving that Grand Bahama remains attractive to international tech companies,” added Minister Thompson.“We welcome all international companies and will shamelessly be courting you for the next three days to come to Grand Bahama.
“We cannot forget, that this Summit is all about highlighting Grand Bahama as a place to live, play, work and Invest. We have brought the world to Grand Bahama to give them a taste of who we are and what we can offer. We are open for business and we want your business.”
Minister Thompson noted that this year’s Summit was bigger and better, not just in terms of numbers of attendees and participants, but in terms of its focus. With education the main focus of this year’s Tech Summit, Minister Thompson welcomed to the Bahamas international learning partners like Cisco Systems and CompTIA (https://www.comptia.org/), who have training modules with Certificates on Corporate Digital Transformation, Cyber Security, Networking and Programming.
He also made special mention of companies like Red Hat, Oracle, Dell, Palo Alto, Veeam, IDB and Cheryl Bayer, all of whom will conduct smaller learning sessions on topics like Next Generation Firewall, Tools to Fund technology and Innovation Projects, Preventing Advance attacks, Cyber Crime, and Solving everyday problems using Technology.
“We also welcome high level Government contributors particularly our Prime Minister who has been the driving force in our digital transformation and the Minister for Education, who has made significant progress in developing our human capacity,” said Minister Thompson.
“We welcome other senior government officials particularly Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister Elise Delancy, who is responsible for Modernization, Digitization and E-Government, whom I am privileged to work with. This initiative has the potential to change the Bahamas Government as we know it.
“This Summit has also attracted important Regulators like Christina Rolle of the Securities Commission, who will lead discussions on Crypto Currency Regulation for the Bahamas, a topic which has attracted an enormous amount of attention nationally and internationally.
“This presentation will be highly anticipated given the success of our first Blockchain and Crypto currency conference and the recent release of the draft framework by the Bahamas Central Bank.”
Minister Thompson announced that the government will be partnering with the YMCA and BTVI teaching Coding to 100 young Grand Bahamians in a new youth ICT program.
They are also in the final stages of an App Development program, which will train and fund participants in App development.
By Andrew Coakley