Avryl Francis, Che-Andre Gordon and Rasheed Andrews are the members of a group of third year students from the University of Technology, (UTech), who won the PitchITCaribbean challenge and CodeSprint for designing a tourism-based mobile application, called iTechHotel, in just 24-hours between May 23 and 24, 2015. For their efforts, they bagged an automatic entry to the World Bank Group/infoDev’s Government of Canada funded Caribbean Mobile Innovation Project’s (CMIP) upcoming PitchITCaribbean Startup Challenge Pitch Event.
The CodeSprint, which was a collaboration with StartUp Jamaica, was held at the Musson Foundation e-Learning Lounge in Kingston and had five Jamaican teams along with three virtual teams, one each, from Barbados, Dominica and St. Kitts & Nevis hacking out mobile applications to solve problems in agriculture, energy management and tourism.
“This was a tremendous success,” declared Robert Whitehorne, project manager for the CMIP.
“For the first time in the staging of hackathons, we were able to have teams from other countries – namely Barbados, Dominica and St. Kitts & Nevis – participate for the 24-hours, tackling the same challenges as those in Jamaica. In the end they made their presentations via video conferencing and proposed some compelling solutions,” he added.
The team from St. Kitts & Nevis, led by ICT professional, Telojo Onu, proposed Nuh TekkUp – an app for farmers to report praedial larceny in real time – and was named the Top Virtual team. Shannon Clarke, a one-man team from Barbados, proposed a medical tourism app, which allows visitors to find medical services quickly while they are on a visit to the region. His app was specially recognised as having a strong potential for development.
Outlining the challenges across the sectors were economics professor, Claremont Kirton, who has done decades of research in agriculture; Andrea Atkinson-Perry, Group IT Director of the Hendrickson group – which operates a chain of hotels including the Pegasus and Holiday Inn – sharing pain points on tourism, while Gina Tomlinson-Williams, head of customer service at JPS, identified opportunities in energy management for the entrepreneurs to take on.