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Technology Giants To Attend Summit In Freeport

HOPING to boost Grand Bahama's failing economy, the Minnis administration will host a technology summit in Freeport featuring some of the biggest names in Silicon Valley, including Google, Microsoft and Samsung.

Press Secretary Anthony Newbold said the event, scheduled for November 9 and 10, is organised by the Office of the Prime Minister.

The summit "begins the dialogue with key industry stakeholders, policy makers and the general public in shaping the policy to govern how this new initiative and industry will work," he said.

"To that end, some very important stakeholders have agreed to be a part of the event. We're talking about Google, HP, Microsoft, Dell, Samsung, Huawei and others from Silicon Valley in California. Delegates are also calling from California to be a part of this ground-breaking event. The office in Grand Bahama has also gotten calls from Bermuda.

"We are providing opportunities and access for entrepreneurs, bringing Silicon Valley to Grand Bahama," he said at his weekly press briefing. "That's creating the environment for private businesses to flourish instead of government trying to run a business."

Mr Newbold name-checked Bahamians who will participate in the summit, including Dr Gadryn Higgs, an entrepreneur with a private healthcare technology company in California; Laron Burrows, a 26-year-old inventor of medical devices; Aisha Bowe, a former NASA aerospace engineer who is now CEO of a STEM board in Washington, DC; and Kristie Powell, a senior technical account manager at Google.

"One of the highlights of the summit will be the Blue Marlin Business Innovation challenge where potential entrepreneurs will get to showcase their inventions," Mr Newbold said. "That's similar to the Shark Tank (television) show."

During the press briefing, Mr Newbold also highlighted another Grand Bahama event set to be launched: the youth apiary programme.

Sixty young people between 17 and 35 will be invited to participate in the event for the programme's launch on October 26 and 27.

Thirty of these participants will become part of the "honey production business," Mr Newbold said. Each of them will be given funding to start their own business.

The Bahamas Development Bank will have carriage of that part of it and the government is considering given them $5,000 each, Mr Newbold said.

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