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Nov 18, 2016

EntreCon 2016: Unlocking ICT Innovation in Belize

Competitiveness in this digital age is to understand the virtue of ICT – information and communications technology…That’s what the Belize Trade and Investment Development Service (BELTRAIDE) is providing entrepreneurs and small businesses with to market their business through the internet. A second annual conference got underway today at the Biltmore Plaza. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

“Unlocking ICT Innovation in Belize” – that is the theme for this year’s Belize National Entrepreneurship Convention being held at the Biltmore Plaza. Hundreds of persons including reps from the private and public sectors as well as budding entrepreneurs gathered for the second annual workshop geared specifically to developing the products and services they offer, while helping them to expand through ICT – information and communications technology.

 

Lejia Melanie Gideon

Lejia Melanie Gideon, GM, Enterprise & Innovation, BELTRAIDE

“How you use ICT to make business better; how do you use ICT to bring that innovative thought to commercialization. That is the theme for today, but overall BELTRAIDE along with its partners over the past five years have systematically been trying to expose, celebrate, expand the consciousness of what is entrepreneurship. Why is it important; why we need more and more players and participants in the field of entrepreneurship? It takes the business idea to a new level; it’s all about how do I problem-solve something in a very non-traditional way. And in that problem-solving, how do you bring ease to business.”

 

Today’s convention featured presentations from many professionals on G.O.B.’s E-governance Agenda as well as an Introduction to Business Hackaton and the Principles of Business Success. But the main presentation was the opportunities for ICT and Innovation in Belize. IT Professional, David Ahuja, explains.

 

David Ahuja

David Ahuja, IT Director, CPG & Detail

“This is a global transformation that is happening. What’s very interesting is around the globe, countries like India even nearby Costa Rica have jumped on this because it is not just E-government because of internal, but it is also how you take that technology skill and sell it externally. This is really important and really what Belize needs, to develop that skill. And it begins from an education, growing the education and focusing people on technology. I don’t know if it is big of a priority in the country and it needs to be. It needs to be where every child is getting their hands on a computer at age five or younger and we need to be producing brilliant techonologist that I know we can in Belize to have an impact in this digital enterprise.”

 

This year, the U.S. Embassy partnered with BELTRAIDE for the conference.

 

Adrienne Galanek

Adrienne Galanek, Deputy Chief of Mission, US Embassy Belize

“Some of the ways that we support entrepreneurship in addition to the workshop you see today is that we’ve sent several entrepreneurs to Global Entrepreneurship Summits that we’ve hosted in the United States. And we support entrepreneurs and at risk youth through our CARSI grants and since 2008, we’ve provided over forty million U.S. dollars in assistance through the CARSI program. And then most recently, we have the Young Leaders of the Americas initiative and we’ve supported six young leaders from Belize and two entrepreneurs were selected to actually meet with President Obama.”

 

According to BELTRAIDE’s Lejia Gideon, over the past five years, through the many programs and initiatives of the organization, entrepreneurs have been exposed to ICT as an online tool to develop and expand their business.

 

Lejia Melanie Gideon

“Look at any product: food, entertainment, government services, education. We’ve been programmed more and more and what’s the first thing that we do, we turn on our phone. And so it is understanding that in order for you to be a viable business entity, entrepreneurial entity, you cannot be competitive without incorporating ICT. If I am looking for food in Belize, I go on my phone and I do a Google search and I go on trip advisor or whatever it may be and see what are my options. And so you need to know how to present yourself to your client that no longer looks on a physical document like a phonebook; it no longer looks at word of mouth. He actually goes, oh we’ve been programmed. We have been conditioned where information is pushed to us through mobile platforms.”

 

Duane Moody for News Five.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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