(Written in UK English)

ST. GEORGE’S, GRENADA, MONDAY, APRIL 16TH, 2012 –Forty-two technology fanatics have been given the opportunity to benefit from one of the fastest growing global industries.

With the Gardener Group estimating its revenue generation to be USS 50 Billion by the year 2015, the Mobile Application Development industry is growing rapidly and Grenadians are finally being offered a piece of the tech-pie.

Through the pioneering efforts of the Ministry of ICT and LIME, these 42 fanatics have enrolled in an intensive, four-day workshop, geared at teaching them one thing and one thing only – how to create a mobile application.

“In this global village, Grenada cannot and will not be left behind,” said Country Manager for LIME Angus Steele, as he officially ushered in the workshop on April 16. “The Mobile Applications Development Industry is vast. It has the potential to create jobs and literally move individuals from pauper to prince,” he added.

Indeed, Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) have been hailed globally as the catalyst for regenerating national development and creating opportunities in once hopeless places. With the ICT industry fuelling the increasing development of smart phones and tablet computers, there has been a simultaneous demand for mobile applications that reduce the hassles associated with everyday living.

It is this demand for better computing devices that has rendered the very staging of the workshop timely, said Bevil Wooding, the executive director of BrightPath Foundation, the non-profit organisation  in Trinidad and Tobago responsible for coordinating the event.  “It is time we move from merely being consumers of the technology, to being producers of it as well.”

As producers of the technology, Grenadians and other Caribbean nationals, will be able to take charge of the way in which their content is presented for the world to see, and moreover, satisfy needs that are currently unmet in many of the application stores, said Stephen Lee, a software developer attached to BrightPath. In the same vein, he further stated, mobile application developers hold the power in their hands to change the telecommunications landscape. By producing more applications to meet the global economy, they will be forcing network providers to upgrade their services.

It is this potential for changing the local landscape and inspiring minds to chart the not so beacon path in the name of empowerment that has pushed the Ministry of ICT- Prime Minister’s Office – to offer the workshop under the umbrella of TEXPO – its yearly technology exposition.

TEXPO is the engine driving government’s ICT for development agenda (ICT4D). It seeks to harness the transformational power of ICT by connecting communities through emerging technologies.  And what better, “innovative way is there to connect communities than through the use of mobile applications?” asked ICT Director in the Ministry of ICT and TEXPO Chairman Loretta Simon.

Simon believes the workshop “presents a first-time, once in a life time opportunity for participants to develop the hard to find skills in Mobile Apps development and empower [themselves] to sustainability.” It is time, she said, for the delivery of the “Grenada Apps.”

The Mobile Application Development Workshop is walking participants through the entire development process of application creation for Android, Blackberry and Apple platforms. At its completion on April 19, the applications produced will be uploaded to global application stores, as well as entered into the World Sprint Association’s Mobile Apps Competition.  Come May 17 – 19, the applications developed, will also find themselves prominently featured at TEXPO, at which time the developers will have the chance to market them to locals.

It is this potential for individual growth and development that moved participant Jeston Sabazan to hail the workshop as “extremely beneficial.”  Lingering after day one’s session, Sabazan couldn’t help but express just how much the workshop had in-fact surpassed his expectations.

“What I heard about it, and what I learned today, was a totally different thing than what I had in my mind at first,” he said. “I just thought that I would come and learn how to make applications for smart phones. I didn’t realise it was something that I could easily make a living from if I so desired and that there’s a need for it in Grenada.”

The enthusiasm expressed by Sabazan was vividly expressed on the faces of each participant, as they actively engaged and interacted with the six facilitators throughout the day. Kimanii Daniel, another participant, couldn’t help but blog about the event on his blog: Daniel, who recounts a play by play of the day’s activity, wrote about “another topic of interest,” referring to the development of a Mobile Strategy, which he later goes on to share about in detail.

What Daniel didn’t mention in his blog was the token of appreciation provided by LIME. In facilitating their participation in the workshop, LIME awarded each participant a 1 GB flash drive bracelet. They also provided their heavily subsidized ‘Flip-Top’ Laptops for use in the workshop’s breakout sessions.

The four-day workshop is being offered free of charge to its 42 participants. It is being supported by the efforts of LIME and the Ministry of ICT, its corporate sponsors, and by the efforts of the Information Technology Association of Grenada (ITAG), the BrightPath Foundation and the US based Information Technology consulting and services provider Arkitechs.





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