Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 31st 2014 Contents SBG4 NEWS
SUNDAY BUSINESS GUARDIAN www.guardian.co.tt AUGUST 31 • 2014
More ICT (information
neurs are needed in the
Caribbean, according to
Professor Tim Unwin,
secretary general of the Commonwealth
Telecommunications Organisation (CTO).
Unwin spoke with the Sunday BG while he
was in T&T for the "ICTs 4 Skills Development
and Entrepreneurship among Young People"
symposium which was held between August
19 and August 20. The symposium was hosted
by the Telecommunications Authority (TATT)
in partnership with the Commonwealth
Telecommunications Organisation (CTO), as
well as, the Omar Dengo Foundation from
Unwin, professor emeritus at Royal Holloway
University of London, said everyone---both
young and old---needs to be learning how to
use ICTs to achieve their goals in business and
everyday life, especially given the accelerated
use of technology in modern times.
But developing the skills and desire necessary
to fuel entrepreneurship in the sector or
becoming an entrepreneur, in general, starts
from the time one is born to adulthood in
Unwin s assessment.
An expert in skills development and entre-
preneurship, particularly in the ICT sector,
the British professor said: "I think everything
that one does when one is a child is so influ-
And, even though some people have the
natural aptitude, Unwin said they can still get
better with training.
Entrepreneurship's not for everyone
Unwin is of the view that entrepreneurship
is not for everyone.
"I caution against the view that entrepre-
neurship is going to change the world and
there are going to be tens of thousands of
people with entrepreneurial skills who are
going to build the economy. I don t think that
is actually ever going to happen. There are
people who are going to do that but there are
people who want to do other things. It depends
a little bit on how you define entrepreneur-
In defining what an entrepreneur is, Unwin
said he looked at three things. An entrepreneur
is someone who comes up with new ideas to
develop a business. He said they also had to
have a certain set of skills that make them
open to developing an opportunity for other
Creativity, he said, is the third element,
since entrepreneurship is about doing some-
thing that has not been done before.
"People say if someone opens their own
shop they are an entrepreneur, I m not sure
"To me, an entrepreneur is someone who
actually has a vision to do something bigger
than that. If someone says that a person setting
up a small business to sell sim cards is an
entrepreneur, okay, I accept that some people
see that, but I don t. At the heart of entre-
preneurship, for me, is someone who will
develop their own business and employ other
people and move forward to generate growth
in the economy," said Unwin.
ICT in small state economies
Small state economies, like T&T and others
in the region, pose an interesting challenge
for ICT entrepreneurs.
Unwin said even though many Common-
wealth members were small island states, one
of the great things about technology is that
it can be developed anywhere in the world
and have a world market.
"From small states like Montserrat and Toba-
go to larger ones like Jamaica, if there are cre-
ative people there is the potential to serve a
world market," Unwin said. However, he also
said that developing product specifically
designed for the local context.
"It s tough and it s tough to make money.
You ve got the T&T market, you ve got the
Caribbean, you ve got North America, you ve
got the Commonwealth, it s all very nested
but there will always be a demand for local
content. Yes, the local market is small but if
you re not doing things for your local culture,
your local economy, your local society, why
don t you go live elsewhere," said Unwin.
A true entrepreneur
Nicolas Maloney, one of the directors and
co-founders of F1rst Media Ltd---a local com-
pany that provides ICT solutions---agreed that
focus should be placed on the local market.
Maloney said: "Our focus is Trinidad, Bar-
bados and Jamaica but the perks are global.
It works the same in any country. I travel to
New York, to France, to Turkey and I use the
app while I m there. I go into places in those
countries and add them and so forth."
The app Maloney referred is one which "is
basically a way for businesses to access con-
sumers in a way that they haven t been able
to do in the past."
He explained to the Sunday BG that if, for
example, someone was looking for a place to
purchase food at night or on a day like Sunday,
where some places may be closed or at a venue
where there may be no card payment system,
Maloney said the F1rst Media app can be used
to search for food and locate such places.
The app also allows a user to see all places
that are nearby, see which restaurants are the
most popular, see if friends visited there before,
see their recommendations, take a look at
what is on the menu and then to make a deci-
Describing another scenario where local
tech solutions are needed, he said: "How would
you know where you can get the latest Beats
by Dre headphones locally, at a good price?
You re not too sure, you would have to go
from store to store. You would quicker go to
Amazon and buy internationally."
Acknowledging that the Caribbean market
is small, Maloney said T&T and other countries
in the region have room for ICT solutions like
those his company offers as the regional sector
is not very competitive and businesses within
the region are ready for them.
He told the Sunday BG that businesses in
T&T have been "tremendously" accepting of
the concept and they have recognised the
growing use of digital devices by consumers
and the need for digital communication.
"The problem is, most of the local businesses
Continued on Page 5
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