Who is a Tech Entrepreneur? Typically defined, a tech entrepreneur is a woman or man who applies their ideas using technology. Over the years the technologies being used have primarily been the Internet and the mobile phone/device. So if you surf online or use a mobile phone chances are you are using a product or service – such as an app, a website, a game, a social network created by a tech entrepreneur.
Famous Tech Entrepreneurs
Steve Jobs – cofounder of Apple that gave is the iPod, iPad, iPhone and iMac. He has since been called the greatest Tech Entrepreneur of our time.
Bill Gates – founder of Microsoft that gave us Windows Operating System, Microsoft Office, and other widely used software applications
Larry Page and Sergey Brin – cofounders of Google.
Mark Zuckerberg – founder, Facebook.
Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, and Jawed Karim – cofounders of YouTube.
Caterina Fake, cofounder of Flickr. Fake not only cofounded photo-sharing behemoth Flickr but also sold it to Yahoo for a reported $35 million.
Gina Bianchini – cofounder and CEO of social networking platform, Ning. Ning allows anyone to create their own social network, their own online community. Currently hosts over a 1,000,000 social networks, such as that belonging to rapper, 50cents.
Rashmi Sinha – cofounder and CEO of SlideShare. She co-founded the site that give users the ability to upload and share publicly or privately Microsoft PowerPoint presentations, Word documents and Adobe PDF Portfolios.
So after those examples you get the idea of who a Tech Entrepreneur really is and how their ideas have changed the way we live, work and play. The next question is, are there any in the Caribbean? Short answer is yes, and over the last two years especially, we’ve been seeing more, and the trend is growing and fast…
Some of them have been featured on SiliconCaribe.com; other are in video interviews on SiliconCaribe.tv, but for the most part the sister event Kingston BETA has been the platform to bring them together in a single space, to share their ideas via pitches, to network and learn from each other. Kingston BETA has over 4 years held over 40 events, attended by over 2000 people and seen over 50 Caribbean start-ups pitch their ideas. Kingston BETA has been helping to incubate Caribbean Tech Entrepreneurs and grow the community.
The next stop is Caribbean BETA, the first tech entrepreneurship conference, which will be held on 25 November 2011 at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, in Kingston, Jamaica. It is the first event of its kind that will bring together the smartest Caribbean minds in a single event to connect to each other; learn from regional and global experts; hear success stories; and pitch their ideas in a start-up contest.
Caribbean Tech Entrepreneurs to Watch
Alex Morrissey (Jamaica) – founder of Jamaicansmusic.com, which has reached a million “likes” and a Top 40 spot in the unofficial Facebook Page leader board, All Facebook. The site has launched a Virtual DJ program, spawned a Facebook Game, Songwrita, as well as a Reggae Music-focused e-zine, IrieZine.
Sandor Panton (Jamaica) – founder of Top5Networks, which has the lead brand of Top5Jamaica.com the Yahoo for Jamaican sites, Dancehall.mobi as well as literally hundreds of other unique content site. A 10-year pioneer in the business of online content, affiliate marketing and online advertising.
Herbert Samuel (St. Vincent and the Grenadines) – founder of Welectricity.com, a free service that helps you track and reduce your energy consumption at home!
Lloyd Laing (Jamaica) – founder of ReggaeTop40.com, whose game changing business has singlehandedly eliminated payola and will help to legitimise and help make the Global Reggae Industry more progressive and profitable with this Nielsen-type ratings Global Reggae Music Index and marketing services.
Monique Powell (Jamaica) – founder, Roaming Donkey, which helps you discover the best spots across Jamaica, and to view and share reviews of local restaurants, shops, nightclubs, hotels, beaches and more.
Chad Cunningham (Jamaica) – founder of Jamdeal.com, the Jamaican EBay.
Omari Case, Rory Burchenson (Jamaica) – cofounders of Lyme Juice Inc. and founders of the TUMP!, a free Blackberry Mobile app that helps you find places, events and services in Jamaica and soon the Caribbean. If you can’t find it, you can add it by using the “Map it” feature, which is like crowdsourcing for fresh information that can be shared with their other users.
Khary Sharpe (Jamaica) – founder of Bakari Digital, a company responsible for many web apps being used by corporate companies and their customers.
Leighton Scarlett (Jamaica) – founder of Caribsingles, the largest Caribbean dating site online.
As you see, we have Caribbean Tech Entrepreneurs and that’s just a very short list. There are some we are yet to hear of, and some who are right now solving local and regional problems; who are busy getting their ideas ready to share with the world. We have women and men who see their future in applying their ideas using technology to launch start-up businesses, create jobs and innovation in Jamaica, across the Caribbean, and globally. That is the role and goal of Caribbean BETA – the first Tech Entrepreneurship Conference!
Caribbean BETA – Tech Entrepreneurship Conference
Caribbean BETA is the first of its kind: a Tech Entrepreneurship Conference that will bring together the smartest Caribbean minds together in a single event to connect to each other, learn from region and global experts, hear success stories and pitch their ideas in a start-up contest.
Caribbean BETA is about driving tech entrepreneurship in the Caribbean, so we will see more start-up businesses launched, more jobs created and a lot of innovation unleashed. We believe the Caribbean will deliver the tech equivalent to Bob Marley and Usain Bolt.
We’re bringing Silicon Valley to Jamaica in the form of one of our featured speakers – Michelle Messina of the GuideWire Group, Silicon Valley, USA, who will talk about The Entrepreneurial Mind-set. Do You Have What It Takes?
Our other keynote speaker is Marc Canter, CEO of Digital City Mechanics, founder of billion-dollar tech company Macromedia, and co-creator of the world’s first multimedia player called FLASH, previously called Shockwave. This successful tech entrepreneur and software-pioneering innovator, will be talking about How to Build a Digital City – that sparks start-ups, jobs and innovation.
So you have the idea, have put together a wickedly talented team, maybe even have a prototype done, but need some more juice to take things to the next level. What are your real funding options… local, regional, international? Angel and Venture Funds? Friends? Family? Bootstrapping? Two of the key panels will be How I Did It? Success Stories from Caribbean Tech Entrepreneurs, as well as Show Me the Start-up Money!
Have an idea? Want to learn more? To meet people who are doing it and have done it? Connect to people who can help you? Register Now Online at CaribbeanBETA.com.
It is J$1,000 (US$ 12) for students | General: J$2,000 (US$25) Early Bird Special until 8 November | General: J$3000 (US$ 35) after 8 November.
Group and Company discounts available via Ingrid Riley, ingrid@connectiMass.com.