BIDC’s Hackathon To Connect Diaspora

Joy-Ann Gill Ministry News

Chief Executive Officer of the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation, Sonja Trotman. (BIDC)

The Blue Flame Challenge was launched with the hope that it will help Barbados develop better markets wherever its diaspora exists.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation (BIDC), Sonja Trotman, emphasised this as she spoke to media representatives following the launch of this year’s challenge known as the Hackathon, on Monday at the Bagnall’s Point Gallery, Pelican Centre.

Mrs. Trotman, noting it was the second year for the Blue Flame Challenge, said: “This year, we have partnered with IBM to do a Hackathon and the outcome hopefully would help us to… develop our markets wherever you would find a Barbadian….”

Expressing thanks to IBM, the CEO noted her organisation had reached out to The University of the West Indies, the Barbados Community College, BIMAP, a group of agencies and most of its stakeholders. “They would have worked with us to ensure that we have the turn out which we have today,” she said of registrants set to participate firstly in training, to be provided by IBM, over the next week-and-a half.

Pointing out that the teams comprised various skill sets, BIDC’s Business Development Officer, Jason Cadogan, said: “You are looking at persons who might be a designer, developer, business-minded or have a background in academics. So, basically what it does is bring those different skill sets together to be able to create a well-rounded solution to tackle the three challenges we are speaking to as a part of the whole overall Hackathon.”

Adding that they anticipated about 15 teams would participate, he said these would comprise five persons per team as overall, BIDC was looking at about 75 persons to be part of the whole process of tackling the challenge to the diaspora.

Noting there was potential to win cash prizes and digital devices, Mr. Cadogan stressed, however: “The prize is to be able to partner with BIDC and IBM to be able to take this particular solution that they are building to the market…. We are looking for the next two weeks, to work with them and IBM to train them in the IBM solutions, especially when it comes to artificial technology.  We believe sincerely that artificial technology is the way to go to be able to get this particular problem solved. And we are looking forward to the kind of solutions that they can build.”

This year’s participants will be given the chance to develop solutions to one of three challenges with technology at the forefront. A fast-paced marathon of technical creativity and business acumen, the Hackathon will see participants working to create solutions to the challenge of connecting Barbados’ products and services with the Diaspora. This will take place from 9:00 a.m. on Thursday, July 19, until 2:00 p.m. on Friday, July 20. This will also be held at Bagnall’s Point Gallery.

The Hackathon will then be a highlight of this year’s Innovate Barbados Conference that comes off from November 7 to 8 at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre. The solution will be considered by the BIDC as the platform of its ‘BajansConnect’ export marketing initiative.

joy-ann.gill@barbados.gov.bb

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