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September 16, 2014
Students encouraged to develop ‘next billion dollar app’

Students in St Vincent and the Grenadines have been told that they could be the persons behind the next billion dollar application (app) created for the world scale.

At the launch of the I2 competition, being facilitated by the National Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (NTRC), Minister with responsibility {{more}}for Information Technology Senator Camillo Gonsalves told students that the popular apps that they use every day were created by two or three persons who had an idea and used their brain to turn the idea into a reality.

He added that these apps, such as Whatsapp, Instagram, Gmail, Skype, YouTube and Facebook make an extremely large amount of money.

“Every app that I mentioned, now with hundreds of millions of users and sold for billions of dollars was created by two to five people. Two people got together with an idea and now they have something that the entire world is looking at and now they have sold for hundreds of millions or billions of dollars,” the Minister said.

“And now, their applications are better known than the country that you live in. People can find Whatsapp on their phones faster than they can find St Vincent and the Grenadines on a map and make more money than the country you live in. The gross domestic of St Vincent and the Grenadines is less than a billion US dollars, and every product, every app I mentioned to you there is either making billions of dollars a year or sold for billions of dollars and they were created by two or three or five people.”

Through the I2 competition, students at secondary, technical and tertiary level institutes, including the medical colleges, are encouraged to put forward ideas and applications that can implement new or improve systems in the departments of the public service in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

The competition was launched on Thursday at the St Vincent and the Grenadines Community College Villa Campus.

Gonsalves, who praised initiatives like the I2 competition and the STEM programme, urged students to take advantage of the opportunities in an effort to create a positive change to government services that were inherited from Britain when the country gained independence.

“I2 is encouraging us to look at the Government, look at the …systems and to make it better,” he said.

“It is your fresh eyes that will look at the system critically and identify problems and to mould solutions…every line in front of a government service is a problem that can be solved. Every inefficiency that either you or you hear your parents complaining about is a problem that can be solved by you and your brains, with ideas, with innovation, and, of course, with technology.”

The I2 competition will have three phases, which will continue between October 2014 and January 2015. In the final, phase, the two highest ranking teams in each category, “Ideas” or “Innovations,” from each zone, will enter the grand final which is slated for January 15, 2015.

The deadline for submissions of registration forms is on October 10, 2014.

During the launch on Thursday, remarks were also delivered by chief education officer Lou-Ann Gilchrist; general manager for Centre of Enterprise Development (CED) Felix Lewis; director of NTRC Apollo Knights; director of special projects in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade, Commerce and Information Technology Dr Jerrol Thompson and other representatives from key stakeholders in the competition.(BK)