Business figures have formed an alliance – dubbed a dynamic digital communications coalition – with Government to push for digital transformation.
The coalition is one of a number of initiatives to emerge from the inaugural Smart Barbados conference which ended today.
Minister of Innovation, Science and Smart Technology Kay McConney announced that following the week-long deliberations, a number of private sector stakeholders were teaming together.
Digicel Barbados, Ernst and Young, Productive Business Solutions Ltd (PBS) Barbados, and Cave Shepherd have decided to offer work experience for the upcoming Christmas season to the 30 “digital ambassadors” who volunteered for the Smart Barbados event.
Senator McConney said: “We decide that we will raise an army of young people who will help to raise the digital intelligence of this country.”
Several college students are also to work with members of the Barbados Association of Retired Persons (BARP) to ensure that the older generation becomes more tech-savvy under a citizen engagement programme.
Senator McConney declared: “I am happy to announce that a dynamic digital communications coalition will be formed.
“It will be made up of sectoral partners as well as private citizens.
“The purpose of dynamic digital communications coalition will be to help the ministry of innovation, science and smart technology to shape the message of a Smart Barbados will be targeted at various groups.”
Coming out of the conference was also a decision to develop a “tech accelerator” based on Scotland’s CivTech model, which brings private and public sector together to solve problems, develop products and deliver faster, better and easier services for everyone, among other things.
McConney also announced that Government was able to sign a “draft memorandum of understanding” with Estonia’s E-government academy “to set up a technical framework to allow Barbados’ government to share data across a secure platform”.
“We expect that the first technical engagement of our respective teams will happen in about another two weeks,” she said.
In relation to the “digital ambassadors”, McConney explained that they were students who were required to give back under Government’s newly implemented give back programme.
Students who are part-time at a tertiary institution are required to give back at least 100 hours annually while full-time students are required to give back 150 hours.
So far there are 70 digital ambassadors, who were chosen from a pool of 90, following a screening.