Saturday 15 December, 2018

Startup Weekend invites citizens to find solutions to national issues

Gerard Thomas of Launch RockIt and Carina Cockburn of IDB

Gerard Thomas of Launch RockIt and Carina Cockburn of IDB

Every day people take to social media to complain about the many ills in the country, particularly in the public service: poor customer service, long waiting times in Government agencies and the list goes on.

If, however, you are tired of talking and complaining and have an idea to fix some of the problems in the public service, Launch RockIt and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has an opportunity for you to turn your ideas into a viable business venture. 

The two agencies are this year collaborating on Trinidad and Tobago 2017 Startup Weekend. The theme of the event is "National Solutions, Driven by Citizen's Ideas".

"It is about building ideas around problems in society," explained Gerard Thomas, founder of Launch RockIt. "It is about putting action where your mouth is."

This is the second time his organisation is teaming up with IDB for Start-Up Weekend, a weekend boot camp where like-minded individuals come together to brainstorm and pitch business ideas. 

"We were involved with StartUp Weekend about two to three years ago. Now we have a new country strategy with the Government to focus on private sector development and public/private sector partnerships. We want to scale it down to people level so if you have issues with delivery or waiting in line we want you to come to StartUp Weekend and bring your solutions," said Carina Cockburn, Principal Operations Specialist at IDB.

An award of up to US$10,000 will be given per successful idea depending on the scope of the venture. 

Participants will gather at the Queen's Park Oval Ballroom on Friday, November 24 to pitch their ideas. Thomas said everyone who attends is not expected to pitch as some may just want to contribute their expertise in different areas.

The top 15 selected will then choose teams and from Friday night into Saturday morning they will work with mentors for direction and feedback as they build their prototypes.

Presentations will be made before a panel of judges on Sunday. 

"The IDB is in a unique position to introduce these entries to Government agencies. If the idea is feasible then there is a chance for implementation," said Cockburn when asked what happens post-event.

"Sometimes it is just a simple idea like putting Internet access in a lobby. A few areas are suggested but it is not limited to those," she added.

Among the suggested areas of interest are public health, public education, public transport, public local government, public utilities, housing, cultural development or any Government or Public Service area.

The event is open to all private sector individuals and cost $500 which includes breakfast, lunch and dinner for the three days. 

To participate in Startup Weekend visit www.startupweekendtt.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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