Minister of Energy, Science and Technology Dr Andrew Wheatley says the Government is moving to make Jamaica the Caribbean’s leading producer of technology, through the creation of a Technology Innovation Fund.

He explained that the Fund will provide for the sustainable financing of technology-based and start-up projects.

Dr Wheatley was speaking at the opening of a Community Access Point (CAP) located at the Roehampton Primary School, in St James on April 21. The CAP site was funded through the Universal Service Fund (USF) at a cost of $4.1 million.

He explained that already inroads have been made with the Start-Up Jamaica Project.

“In one boot camp, more than 40 start-ups from several countries throughout the Caribbean participated.  Of that number, 25 successfully completed the programme requirements and 15 of them will be selected to advance to the acceleration/incubation phase, but much more can be achieved. While we celebrate this achievement, there are other targets that must be realized,” Dr Wheatley said.

Meanwhile, the technology minister noted that the opening of the CAP site is a demonstration of the Government’s commitment to empowering people, and creating opportunities for growth and development.

To date, some 250 CAP sites have been established, with work underway to facilitate connectivity across the board. The USF has so far spent some $791.5 million establishing CAP sites.

Dr Wheatley also commented that, despite the work and expenditure of funds by the USF to establish CAP sites, the usage has been low due to the absence of a comprehensive marketing and communications effort geared at increasingawareness within various CAP communities.

“This situation will be addressed by our administration as we rationalise and explore possibilities for promoting increased use and awareness of the CAP sites island wide,” he stated.

He also added that the Ministry will be working closely with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, to ensure an efficient and effective use of technology to support teaching and learning.

Source: Technology Innovation Fund to be created – News – JamaicaObserver.com