On Thursday April 18, 2013, the first National innovators Forum was held at the Alfred Sangster Auditorium at the University of Technology Jamaica by the Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining the Hon Phillip Paulwell. This was the first of a series of events to encourage and guide Jamaicans in developing their various innovative ideas from concept to commercialization. The offshore wind farm idea presented on this website is an innovative idea we would love to commercialize for the island to benefit.
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The event started at 10:00am and brought together over 50 innovators who entered the 2012 Minister’s Innovation Awards competition and presented the grand opportunity for many to talk to the minister and present there problems and opportunities while developing their innovations. The 2012 Minister’s Innovation Awards competition was held last November and attracted, through social media and other communication channels, an unprecedented 177 entries. The prize monies totaled over $6 million, including a $1 million award for Top Innovator and a special $1 million prize for Outstanding Youth Innovator. The winning innovations in the 2012 competition were products in pharmaceutics, green-house technology, renewable energy, entertainment, water monitoring, agricultural production, and in the use of organic waste materials.
In the minister’s address to the innovators, he commented on the barriers between innovations and funding and stated that institutions should see great ideas as collateral and should worth more than a piece of land or a car title, this he said added should be an attribute the banks take into consideration when persons request loans to build on their ideas.
Last year, main sponsor of the Innovations Awards was the PetroCaribe Development Fund, while The Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) sponsored the Youth Innovator Awards. Other sponsors included the JIPO, the RJR Communications Group, Digicel, PetroJam, the National Foundation for Science and Technology, Spectrum Management Authority, the Jamaica Broilers Group and the SRC.
A Forum of this nature restores hope, and shows that Jamaican innovators are taking their rightful place in our society and are highlighted for their contribution to our nation’s development. As we all work towards taking the next step from winning ideas to manufacturing, I pray that the 177 innovators from the 2012 staging of the competition will push on to manufacture the products they invented and help to grow and stabilize our economy.