Minister of Labour, Senator Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, has urged up-and-coming entrepreneurs and innovators to “start being a part of the solution”.
She was speaking during the closing session of the first inaugural Startup Weekend Barbados Hackathon, which took place recently at the 3Ws Pavilion of the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus.
Senator Byer Suckoo encouraged participants not to ascribe blame for national problems, but rather, focus their energies on finding innovative and creative solutions.
“What I want from your generation is to start looking at how you can be the solution. I’m glad to see what has happened here this weekend because that is what you were really doing. You were identifying problems and saying there is a way that we can fix them,” she said.
The three-day event, which was hosted by the Orbit Innovation Project and the Ministry of Labour’s Human Resource Development Strategy, gave participants the opportunity to develop Information Communications Technology (ICT) applications to solve a selection of nationwide problems.
In giving praise to the event, the Minister described the startup initiative as “excellent” and extended a special congratulations to the overall winners of the competition, Nutrition-Ish.
Nutrition-Ish, who was also the recipient of a five thousand dollar pre-approved loan compliments the Barbados Public Workers’ Co-operative Credit Union, developed a nutrition-based app to promote health awareness by simplifying food labels, which would assist in combating non-communicable diseases.
Senator Byer Suckoo said: “As a doctor I was very pleased with Nutrition-Ish because that for me is one of our biggest challenges – chronic non-communicable diseases and obesity. It speaks to our ability to be able to work well into our ripe old age…and reap the rewards of our labour”.
The Minister also noted that the role of her Ministry, under the Human Resource Development Strategy, was to create an enabling environment to foster such creative innovations. And, as such, she expressed her Ministry’s commitment to the continued realisation of the island’s human resource potential.