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Programme aims to make Grand Bahama tech hub

FROM left are Dr Donovan Moxey, consultant, Integrated Business Solutions International; Rickelle Albury, acting director, Division of Advancement at UB North; Derek Newbold, chief investment officer at GBPA; Ian Rolle, president of GBPA and Port Group Ltd; Daniel Friker, CEO QUESS North America; and Trevor Simmons, business development officer, GBPA. Photo: GBPA

FROM left are Dr Donovan Moxey, consultant, Integrated Business Solutions International; Rickelle Albury, acting director, Division of Advancement at UB North; Derek Newbold, chief investment officer at GBPA; Ian Rolle, president of GBPA and Port Group Ltd; Daniel Friker, CEO QUESS North America; and Trevor Simmons, business development officer, GBPA. Photo: GBPA

By DENISE MAYCOCK

Tribune Freeport Reporter

dmaycock@tribunemedia.net

TECH Edge, a new upskilling tech programme, was launched in Grand Bahama yesterday to help Freeport develop into a technology and innovation hub.

Through a strategic partnership with QUESS and the University of the Bahamas North, the Grand Bahama Port Authority will target some 50 Bahamians for tech training and employment placement for nearshoring opportunities.

During an announcement on Wednesday, Ian Rolle, President of the Grand Bahama Port Authority and Port Group Ltd, said he expects the programme will significantly influence the employment situation in Grand Bahama, particularly in the tech space.

“What would probably happen after being involved in the training process is that we will have a number of entrepreneurs arise out of this programme,” he said.

“This is very unique to the Bahamas in that this programme we train you and we place you.”

The Tech Edge programme will commence on October 16 and continue for eight to 12 weeks. Candidates will receive training in one of three subject tracks: Cloud Computing, Cyber Security, and Mobile App Development.

QUESS Corp Limited (Quess) will provide training and also place successful candidates with job opportunities either locally, with Quess Corp, or with one of their 3,000 clients worldwide.

Mr Rolle said that trained Bahamians with the right skill set are needed to attract companies with tech jobs to Grand Bahama.

He thanked QUESS for partnering with the GBPA and UB North.

Daniel Friker, CEO of QUESS North America, indicated that the island’s proximity to the US and its business-friendly environment were very ideal for their company.

QUESS is India’s leading business service provider. The company has grown to become one of the largest employers with over 525,000 consultants deployed across nine countries and over 3,000 customers in various industries, from FINTECH to banking, and IT, according to the company’s CEO.

“This public-private venture is really predicated and built on several examples around the world where cities and locations have partnered to not only work with industries and train the type of talent that they need, but to then actually make investments and employ them properly,” he said.

“What is going on in the macro-economic environment is companies want flexibility, and customers are asking you what type of talent you have access to, and what are the onshore, offshore, and nearshore rates,” he said.

Derek Newbold said the Tech Edge up-skilling programme represents the culmination of the GBPA’s efforts to improve the local skill set on the island. Participants can qualify for an international certification with the new skills they will obtain, he said.

“This will go a long way in helping to transform GB into a bona fide jurisdiction where you have tech-related companies who might be looking at nearshoring opportunities, now having access to a labour pool they can actually source from,” he said.

Since 2015, GBPA has sponsored a TCI programme in high schools, a STEM programme known as SEED (STEM Empowerment and Educational Development) for grades seven through nine, and the ICT programme in partnership with BTVI.

Dr Donovan Moxey, CEO of Integrated Business Solutions International, the consultant for the project, said the Commercial Enterprises Act allows investments in tech-based companies to come to the Bahamas and quickly set up their operations.

“That is why QUESS is looking at this particular space and others that we are working on,” he said. “When you look at growing the Tech sector, you cannot grow it organically with your own people, which is why attracting these tech companies here and bringing workers here is so important.”

Dr Moxey explained that the legal framework is in place through the BH1B visa programme that was put in several years ago.

He stressed that the Bahamas also has a huge advantage over other countries in the region due to its proximity when considering the whole idea of nearshoring.

Plans are also to create a STEM Professional Database to attract Bahamian students and professionals working abroad in the tech sector back home.

The consultant said Bahamians anywhere in the world, including those locally, would be able to put their skills in the database that would be available to companies looking to come to the Bahamas and recruit workers.

Dr Moxey believes Freeport is the ideal location given the tax benefits of the Hawksbill Creek Agreement, the legislative framework, the infrastructure of the city to support 250,000 people, and the presence of the University of the Bahamas with its campus focused on technology.

Rickelle Albury, Acting Director of the Division of Advancement at UB North, said the Tech Edge Programme helps to allow its students to stay relevant in a rapidly evolving technology industry.

“Partnering with the GBPA on this initiative was a no-brainer as it directly aligns with our recently launched UB Ignite Programme for Innovation and Entrepreneurship,” she said.

Comments

ThisIsOurs 8 months, 1 week ago

"When you look at growing the Tech sector, you cannot grow it organically with your own people, which is why attracting these tech companies here and bringing workers here is so important.”"

I always thought that the CEB bill was written by someone in the tech sector to facilitate them bringing in cheap Indian tech workers for their private company...

mainly because as a legal document it had such poor structure and the mention of IT industry just stuck out even with the attempt to bury it under the mention of other industries. It was odd.

Then the govt revealed its hand with the announcement of this "waiver" that allows any Indian national anywhere in the world to fly to the Bahamas to work without a Visa . They didn't announce that any Phillipino anywhere in the world could fly here to work in a boutique healthcare establishment

This is all about sourcing cheap tech labour for someone's personal business

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birdiestrachan 8 months, 1 week ago

Ithink I heard this before. Different day same story

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