Are You Up For The Blue Flame Challenge?

Joy-Ann Gill Ministry News

Innovate Barbados 2017. (Photo credit: BIDC)

The Blue Flame Challenge is on and once again the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation (BIDC) is seeking individuals who are solutions-oriented.

One of the signature segments of the BIDC’s Innovate Barbados Conference, the Blue Flame Challenge will this year put three challenges up for examination and resolution.

Interested candidates have until month-end to apply as an individual or a group and are being urged to do so early to be among those likely to participate and attend the much anticipated Innovate Barbados Conference 2018, slated for the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, from November 7 to 8.

This year’s Blue Flame Challenge, which is expected to bring more creative and innovative ideas to the fore, will be a fast-paced marathon of technical creativity and business acumen in the form of a ‘Hackathon’, where participants will work together in teams to solve the real-life challenge of connecting Barbados’ products and services with the Diaspora.

The solution will be considered by the BIDC as the platform of its ‘BajansConnect’ export marketing initiative.

In expressing gratitude to the technological giants on board to facilitate and see the success of this BIDC initiative, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Sonja Trotman, said: “We are happy to have partnered with IBM, which affords participants the opportunity to receive hands-on training and mentoring as they innovate a solution on the platform of the IBM Cloud, artificial intelligence and data science.”

She added: “BajansConnect is an integrated marketing campaign ultimately aimed at increasing Barbados’ foreign exchange earnings.”

The entrants will face three challenges. Challenge One examines: Increasing awareness of and engagement with Bajan products: What if Barbadians anywhere could find their home country products with one tap on their mobile phones?

On the other hand, Challenge Two looks at: Exploring online vs offline behaviours of diaspora consumers: What if Barbadian businesses could access real-time data on what diaspora consumers are searching for and use this information to grow their exports exponentially?

And, finally, Challenge Three queries: Optimising shipping and logistics for export of Bajan products: What if every small Barbadian business with hopes of exporting could market their high-quality goods and services through a portal that links directly into diaspora communities around the globe?

Innovate Barbados 2017. (Photo credit: BIDC)

Now in its third year, the highly successful Innovate Barbados Conference has received rave reviews from the over 300 attendees at the 2017 event.  According to Mrs. Trotman, participants have generally agreed that the BIDC “has created a phenomenal gateway to innovation in Barbados”.

Reflecting on the initiative’s success since its start up in 2017, the CEO recalled that for the first roll-out of the Blue Flame Challenge, the BIDC assembled a diverse and multidisciplinary team of seven young people, dubbed ‘The Magnificent 7’.

Their task was to re-imagine the island’s capital, Bridgetown, as a smart, innovative and sustainable city by the year 2030. Using their creative skills and foresight, the young innovators presented a range of ideas, projects and practical solutions which could boost the image and economic vitality of Bridgetown.

It was envisaged that over the next year (2018), the Blue Flame project would be further enhanced to facilitate and support future-focused ideation, product development, social enterprise and business development as part of the Corporation’s efforts to activate more innovative projects and business start-ups.

This effort, says the CEO, would be driven through the empowerment of a community of innovators; the introduction of short, collaborative projects; business development assistance; and design support for innovative future-focused businesses and organisations identified in the keynotes, workshops and talks at Innovate Barbados.

“The aspiration to transform Bridgetown into a smart and sustainable city remains the passion and mission of the Challenge finalists who, with the continued support of the BIDC, have a number of exciting and innovative activities planned for 2018,” Mrs. Trotman added.

Innovate Barbados 2017. (Photo credit: BIDC)

The deadline for applications to this year’s Blue Flame Challenge is Saturday, June 30, and persons may register to participate in the Hackathon by visiting www.innovatebarbados.com/blueflamechallenge.

They may do so as individuals or in teams of up to five persons. Teams should comprise at least one software engineer, one graphic designer and one project manager/business person. However, individuals not entering as a team will be assigned in the final selection of registrants.

The Blue Flame Challenge will be launched on Monday, July 9, at Building #2, Harbour Industrial Park, St. Michael, at 9:00 a.m. The Hackathon, which is scheduled to take place at the same venue, will run from 9:00 a.m. on Thursday, July 19, until 2:00 p.m., Friday, July 20.

For further information on the BIDC’s Blue Flame Challenge, persons may contact Business Development Officer – Technical, Jason Cadogan, at 427-5350 Ext.8573 or 280-3881 or email jcadogan@bidc.org.

joy-ann.gill@barbados.gov.bb

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