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English-speaking Caribbean's first Microsoft Innovation Centre headed to UWI Mona

 

  • Microsoft Jamaica partners with UWI, the Government of Jamaica, JNBS, and other organizations to stimulate a sustainable local software economy
  • “Taking Jamaica from personal success to national prowess”

 Harnessing the wave of innovation budding in Jamaica, Microsoft is partnering with The University of the West Indies, the Government of Jamaica, Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS), and other organizations to open a Microsoft Innovation Center in Jamaica. The mission of the Microsoft Innovation Center Jamaica (MIC Jamaica) is to cultivate a talented technical community in Jamaica, fostering local innovation and stimulating a sustainable local software economy.
 
Acknowledging that Jamaica’s impact on the world is significantly larger than the relative size of its population, the MIC Jamaica hopes to attract significant investments and national focus in the area of technology to augment the underlying talent of the local developer community.
 
Microsoft Executive Sponsor for Jamaica, Jacky Wright, and Marcelle Smart, Microsoft Jamaica Country Manager, along with UWI Principal Prof. Archibald McDonald, JNBS General Manager, Mr. Earl Jarrett and State Minister of Technology, Hon. Julian Robinson, hosted an Innovation Luncheon at The Jamaica Conference Centre onWednesday (December 18) to showcase local talent and kick-off the bid for private sector sponsorship of the MIC Jamaica. Following the event, the MIC Jamaica team sought to recruit top talent to run the Microsoft Innovation Center and attract outstanding developers to make the MIC Jamaica a leader in developing software, with an initial focus on sports technology applications.
 
Marcelle Smart said: “Jamaicans have a highly innovative and creative capacity. The MIC Jamaica is an opportunityfor us to harness this capacity for Jamaica in the realm of software development to drive GDP through the expansion of the local software economy. The Innovation Luncheon is just one of many milestones in the journey towards the launch of the MIC Jamaica in 2014.”
 
Prof. McDonald welcomes the MIC Jamaica, saying: “The Microsoft Innovation Center provides the Jamaican economy with an opportunity, and the much needed capacity, to foster stronger and a more utilitarian relationship between the growth and development of our nation and its innovative and technological advancement. The University of the West Indies, along with our public and private sector collaborators, fully supports this new and ground-breaking initiative that will certainly enhance the prospects of Jamaica’s socio-economic redevelopment for years to come.”
 
In preparation for a successful endeavor, the MIC Jamaica team has been working closely with developers, providing support to help them realize their full potential. An early indicator of the level of success possible from the MIC Jamaica is the success of NCU student Nicolas Brown’s Windows Phone game, Jungle Escape, which showcases theexceptional technical and creative talent of local developers.In response to the support he has received from Microsoft in creating Jungle Escape, Nicolas said: “Microsoft’s toolsmade making this game really easy.”
 
 
Jacky Wright, Vice President for Microsoft IT Strategic Enterprise Services, added: “This partnership creates tremendous opportunity for the Jamaican community. In addition to creating local access to the latest technology, it will be very exciting to see how the people of Jamaica will leverage these opportunities to innovate and contribute to the nation’s success in the future. Microsoft is excited to be a part of their effort.”According to Warren Robinson, NCU student and CEO of local start-up Ajure Ltd: "The Microsoft innovation center is an initiative that we wholeheartedly welcome. What makes this most exciting is the opportunity for us as start-ups to widen our network, learn valuable skills needed to make our products successful, and do cool stuff. We are excited about the bright future with the MIC Jamaica."
 
 
Microsoft Innovation Centers (MICs) are technology facilities for collaboration on innovative research, technology or software solutions, involving collaboration across government, academic and industry organizations. There are more than 100 Microsoft Innovation Centers worldwide. (www.microsoft.com/mic)
 
 
The MIC Jamaica will be a department of UWI Mona, reaching students and developers across Jamaica. Plans are underway to open the physical facility in early 2014. For more information, please visit our website: www.micjamaica.com.
 
About our Partners
 
About Microsoft: Founded in 1975, Microsoft is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential. (www.microsoft.com)
 
About UWI: The University of the West Indies is a dynamic, international institution serving the countries of the Commonwealth Caribbean: Anguilla, Antigua/Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, the British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Christopher-Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and theGrenadines, Trinidad and Tobago and the Turks and Caicos Islands (www.uwimona.edu.jm)
 
About JNBS: Jamaica National Building Society is ranked among Jamaica’s largest financial institutions, offering financial services and mortgage plans to customers living in Jamaica, the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Canada and The Cayman Islands. (www.jnbs.com)
 
If you would like more information please contact Shemiele Da'Briel at +1 876 848 4020 or viaemail at sdabriel@microsoft.com. For press inquiries, please contact Sarah DiDonato at +1 954-489-4915 or via email at sadido@microsoft.com.

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