(Photo: OECS)

Antigua and Barbuda Science Innovation Park to host 4th hackathon

(Photo: OECS)

The Antigua and Barbuda Science Innovation Park (ABSIP) will be collaborating with United Nations Office for Project Services, one of its international partners, to host its fourth hackathon as part of efforts to support local start-ups address local problems.

An institution that falls under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Immigration, and Trade, ABSIP, which got its start on May 31, 2019, aims to lead national innovation that will make an impact on the nation’s economic, social, and cultural development in 2020 and beyond.

The hackathon, therefore, forms part of a schedule of training and skills development programs for Antigua and Barbuda’s youth population.

Team Antigua Island Girls share their proposal for developing a coastal ocean rowing programme that involves youth development and improving the eco-tourism industry in Antigua, at the UNOP-sponsored Dadlihack 3.0. (Photo: ABSIP)

“ABSIP is positioned to empower and advance the skills of talented Antiguans and Barbudans through skills training and providing a business incubator service for entrepreneur start-ups,” CEO of ABSIP, Winston Williams, stated.

He continued: “2021 is slated to be a productive year for ABSIP and its growing international partners.”

Empower and developing local talent, by engaging locals to use their skills to solve real-world business problems, is only half the battle won for ABSIP. The institution also aims to address the issues such as the environment, health care, climate change, agriculture, tourism, and the local consumer market.

To do so would require developing a pipeline for youth to create their own employment while providing solutions for their country.

According to ABSIP Project Advisor Aubrey Webson, who is also Antigua and Barbuda’s permanent representative at the United Nations, the solution of access to high-quality technical training and access to capital and international start-ups will develop innovative thinking among the youth population, and will be invaluable toward the future of Antigua and Barbuda’s participation in the knowledge industry and the emerging global market.

Chairman of the ABSIP board and Minister of Trade EP Chet Green agrees, stating that empowering the youth to design innovative solutions is the key to Antigua and Barbuda’s Future.

“Local innovators are the persons who can solve some of the nation’s most pressing issues,” the foreign official added.

As part of ABSIP’s mission to provide local solutions, the institution has responded to the call to develop a National Contact Tracing app. Its CEO, Winston Williams, therefore pulled together a team of local developers and supporting visionaries to design an app and connected wearable device for monitoring and tracking.

The digital solution should provide automated dashboard updates, manage the COVID-19 data for locals, returning nationals, visitors, provide rapid tracing, and maintain communication between government authorities — the Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment and the Royal Police Force.

Among other activities, the app will have the additional capacity to provide support to the Immigration Department.