Good morning everyone, and thank you for joining us today.
I am Nirad Tewarie, CEO of AMCHAM T&T and it is my great honor to welcome you to the launch of the AMCHAM T&T-Republic Bank - Tech Hub Islands Summit (t.h.i.s.) 2022. I take great pleasure to announce that we will be returning to hosting THIS in person in July!
Four years ago, AMCHAM T&T stepped outside our comfort zone to embark on a journey that would see us transform who we are as a business chamber and how we serve our members. We have long prided ourselves as being the chamber that is willing to take risks, willing to try new things, and willing to push and innovate through “change in action”.
Understanding the importance of digital transformation to our economy, six years ago we launched our digital transformation committee. The ultimate goal of that committee is to undertake initiatives to drive digital transformation in T&T.
One such initiative was the creation of the Tech Hub Islands Summit – THIS. THIS is designed to show practically what can be done by the private sector to accelerate our digital transformation. THIS was established to showcase public sector digital transformation initiatives and opportunities using examples from here in T&T and around the globe. THIS was created to provide a meeting place for traditional businesses and startups. Solution providers and those who require assistance to solve their tech-related problems.
Our firm belief at AMCHAM T&T is that T&T can become a centre of excellence, a significant node in the global tech ecosystem.
With that will come better services for citizens and consumers, export-led growth, more resilient businesses, more opportunities for our citizens to find meaningful work in T&T and an overall more attractive place to live work and play.
In the four years since we held the first THIS, we all lived through the effects of the pandemic. As we emerge in the post-pandemic phase, we can’t seek to recreate life as it was. We have to do better.
Last year we asked you to use technology in a way that takes us beyond the “now” problems so that we can diagnose, deploy and solve for what’s beyond. This year we will focus on how organizations -private and public sector – have realized real tangible benefits from doing just that – using technology to solve those problems AND taking us closer to realising this world we are envisioning.
We are calling this “Change in Action” which is the official theme for this year’s Tech Hub Islands Summit
t.h.i.s.2022 will see us once more promoting the adoption of technology and digital transformation to drive economic growth and development while challenging the visions we have for our future. But we will do it differently. This year we are highlighting success stories about how technology can underpin a more fulfilling, productive and profitable way of life by engaging with the innovators and disruptors who are at the forefront of the Fourth Industrial Revolution wave. You would recall that our 2019 THIS there was the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
We will hear testimonies of how accessing technological solutions have improved business processes and customer experience to ensure continued success and survival. We will engage in important discussions around building the local Fintech Industry and Financial Inclusion, developing futureproof digital infrastructure and making T&T a real player in the global tech supply chain.
We will also assess how technology is currently creating a new world with the latest trends around Web3, the Metaverse, digital currencies and Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs). What are they? Trends or fads? And should we get involved or press the ignore button?
And we will learn from the global tech giants to help us implement practical tech solutions to realise digital transformation in the public sector while building on the local initiatives that are currently underway.
The past two years have been challenging but many exciting things are happening all around. Change through digital adoption is rapidly transforming our lives and creating new pathways for progress and success. Doubt, resistance and hesitation cannot fuel our actions to a standstill. We must keep moving. We must keep adopting and adapting. It is time to go beyond dreaming and talking. Many are already seeing the results of “change in action”.
Joining us live and in-person to help tell these stories are:
• IBM’s Chief Innovation Officer Emeritus, Dr Bernard S. Meyerson,
• Global Lead for Infrastructure Modernization in Google Cloud’s Solutions Engineering organisation, David White,
• Senior Vice President & General Manager, Training & Certification of the Linux Foundation, Clyde Sepersad.
These are just three of the major speakers who will headline a dynamic lineup of local and international speakers who are doing amazing and innovative things in the tech world at t.h.i.s.2022.
We are happy to have t.h.i.s.2022 return to an in-person Conference and Exhibition on July 6th – 8th, 2022 at the Hyatt Regency. To maximise our audience and advocacy reach on these important topics, t.h.i.s.2022 will be a hybrid event with the option to stream the summit and participate in a virtual exhibition on our virtual platform at techislands.net.
We are so delighted to welcome back our Title Sponsor: Republic Bank Limited who reaffirm their commitment to this important venture by signing a three-year sponsorship contract to return as the event’s Official Title Sponsor. We would also like to thank our Platinum Sponsors: PwC, Digicel Business, Eximbank and IDB for their continued support. We are extremely grateful to our sponsors who enable us to do all the things we do and attract the kind of speakers that we have lined up at this year’s conference. In the coming weeks, we will be announcing the names of those speakers so we ask that you stay connected to us on our social media platforms and via our official media releases for more information on this.
Technology is the currency that will drive our economic prospects for the future. We must keep investing in technology as we continue to map out a plan that will help us generate the expected growth and sustainability that will be so vital to our survival and competitiveness in this ever-evolving world. We know that t.h.i.s.2022 will once more spark great dialogue, worthwhile partnerships and actions that will help us realize the benefits of the "Change In Action" needed to develop the local tech ecosystem right here in T&T. So, we look forward to your support and participation.
But a conference alone will not be the catalyst of change. In the past four years, we have worked with a team of Googlers to host the BreakbeatCode hackathon – which teaches coding through music – for 50 young people in T&T. We expect to do another such hackathon this year to be followed by a longer 12-week course for more intense coding training.
With the support of the IDB, we are currently finalising a digital skills gap study to identify the areas of need to support the growth of the local tech industry of which I spoke. We hope that this study will guide the development of training programmes to support the growth of local firms and investor firms as the tech sector expands in T&T.
We hosted a tech trade mission with the Canadian High Commission in which local and Canadian firms were able to connect and explore business partnerships.
Next week, we will present a paper to the Government on opportunities that could be derived from a National Nearshoring Strategy, starting with a focus on IT Enabled Services. This technical work was done by our Digital Transformation Committee and Secretariat.
Next week we also intend to share with members some cyber-security guidelines, which are currently being finalised by our Security Committee.
The last two initiatives are examples of how AMCHAM T&T members work together and learn from one another to promote national and business objectives.
We have also introduced a new category of membership in AMCHAM T&T for startup and early-stage companies so that we build a community of entrepreneurs within our organisation to ensure that the ecosystem of innovation and dynamism that we want to see is nurtured and supported.
All of these, of course, compliment the many policy recommendations that we make on an annual and ad hoc basis, many of which have found their way into official government policy. So, we are working. We are building. Join us in this effort as we do our part to make T&T the kind of vibrant, dynamic, future-proof society that we all desire.
As I conclude, let me remind you to check out the official t.h.i.s.2022 Conference Website at www.techislands.net. There, you will find all the information about our speakers, sponsors, agenda, sessions, topics, registration details and much more.
Thank you and we hope to see you at t.h.i.s.2022!
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