Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett has revealed that participants in the Tourism Innovation Incubator whose ideas are chosen for implementation, will have access to $100 million to transform those ideas into profitable projects.
The Tourism Innovation Incubator is an initiative of the Ministry of Tourism, established through the Tourism Enhancement Fund to incentivize ideas that can enhance Jamaica’s tourism industry on the premise that the future will be driven by ideas which in turn drive innovation and invention.
Speaking during a welcome reception for the start of the Tech Beach Retreat at the Iberostar resort recently, Minister Bartlett said “I have put $100 million in EXIM Bank for the new ideas which are converted into material things that add value.”
The Tourism Innovation Incubator is a business development centre for individuals such as entrepreneurs who have innovative ideas that can impact the tourism sector. Its purpose is to provide a unique and highly flexible combination of services, including business support services and infrastructure. It will also nurture the young entrepreneurs and support them through the early stages of development and execution.
Convinced that tourism: “Is driven by ideas,” Minister Bartlett said post COVID-19, innovation will play a major role in taking Jamaica’s industry to higher levels of achievement. “After the recovery started, we learnt how all the other disruptions have come that are now going to be challenging and new ideas is what we need to meet those challenges,” said Minister Bartlett.
It was outlined that the rollout of the Tourism Innovation Incubator was accomplished with an injection of $40 million and the first 13 inductees were introduced to Minister Bartlett earlier this week.
Elaborating on the $100 million funding facility, Mr. Bartlett said: “We are saying to the young people, when you have come with your ideas to the Incubator and we take you through the boot camp and your ideas have been proven to have value, then we will provide you with initial funding to convert those ideas fully into material things.”
He also pointed to the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre located at the University of the West Indies, Mona, which evolved out of an idea prior to the pandemic and whose function is to anticipate disruptions, mitigate and manage them to recover quickly and thrive.
Mr. Bartlett revealed that the eight satellite centres already established across the globe, “will be followed by eight more in Bosnia, Herzegovina; Botswana, Rwanda, Namibia, Japan, and at the Sofia University in Bulgaria by the middle of next year.”
He added that “the purpose of that is to bring young people across the globe to start thinking about one subject called tourism resilience and how to build capacity to respond to disruptions, to bounce back fast and to thrive.”
Tech Beach is designed to drive a paradigm shift in the economic outlook of Jamaica by attracting an audience of global business luminaries, innovators, and investors.
The key pillars on which it is built are transforming the international business image of Jamaica, human capital development, upskilling the workforce to be globally competitive, attracting global investment and partnerships to create more jobs on the island. Likewise, it focuses on strengthening engagement with international counterparts and the Diaspora, promoting entrepreneurship and driving thought leadership in business, technology and innovation.
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