The Development of Cayman’s Digital Economy
Members of the public working within the Cayman Islands’ digital tech sector recently participated in a lively round table discussion regarding the development of Cayman’s digital economy. The discussion, which took place 8 August 2019 at South West Collective, was part of an ongoing series of monthly ‘Tech Talks’ by Cayman Tech City in partnership with Digital Cayman.
“It’s important for the Cayman Islands’ tech community to get together on a regular basis and discuss critical issues impacting the industry. This month’s discussion set out to solicit invaluable feedback from key individuals who are a part of our growing digital technology sector. Between Cayman Enterprise City (CEC) and the Digital Cayman initiative, we want to ensure that we are developing an inclusive network which will positively impact our growing digital economy.” – Charlie Kirkconnell, CEO at Cayman Enterprise City and Digital Cayman Steering Committee Member
“The digital sector is more than just a support element within our economy. Tech is becoming a significant part of our global economy and has certain demands that other industries don’t necessarily have.” – Alee Fa’amoe, Deputy CEO & Executive Director at OfReg and Digital Cayman Steering Committee Member
Building a Tech Community
The focus of the round table talk was on building a tech community and over 35 participants contributed to the discussion, breaking out into four working groups and sharing their findings at the end.
“We need to give young Caymanians the confidence to pursue careers in tech and provide meaningful opportunities so that the next generation can gain experience working on real-world projects that contribute to the culture and goals of the companies they join.” – Adam Clarke, Computer Science and Engineering Intern at NeuralStudios SEZC
“There is certainly more demand for tech talent that there is supply. The number of opportunities are very good and continues to grow. If we can create a critical mass of talent in Cayman this will attract more businesses, provide more opportunities, support Caymanian entrepreneurs, and certainly help to enable the Cayman Islands to become a significant global tech hub.” – Charlie Kirkconnell, CEO at Cayman Enterprise City and Digital Cayman Steering Committee Member
“The digital economy affects all of us – everyone is a user and we’re all impacted by it. We want to make sure that we’re being impacted in a positive way and that we’re supporting positive economic growth and innovation.” – Alee Fa’amoe, Deputy CEO & Executive Director at OfReg and Digital Cayman Steering Committee Member
“I’m always looking for talented engineers to join us at Brave Software. We need to make sure that we’re supporting individuals who are interested in pursuing careers in technology and fostering their growth from the beginning. This summer we welcomed three student interns to join our team and get some practical experience. The best time to start learning is a couple years ago and the next best time is today.” – Ryan Watson, Director of IT & Infrastructure at Brave Software and Digital Cayman Steering Committee Member
“Building a tech community is essential for tech sector growth. It’s networking events, like these monthly Tech Talks, where connections are made that result in business opportunities and new hires – ones that would have otherwise been sought off-island. It’s great to see Digital Cayman facilitating communication and building these vital relationships within the tech community. A common challenge shared across the tech industry is finding great talent on-island and this community will help young Caymanians see that there is a future for them in tech. We need to make sure they have access to the training they need to do it.” – Tanya Wigmore, Founder of Cronyx Digital SEZC
“I think we need to reexamine tech education and the way that Cayman Islands Government scholarships are granted. We have to highlight the fact that there are so many other fantastic opportunities out there, in addition to banking, finance and tourism. The tech sector truly is diverse.” – Chris Wall owner of Walzzy Creative SEZC, co-founder of Grappzie and Digital Cayman Steering Committee Member
“Technology is so influential, that it in fact defines the current time period we are in, the Computer, the Digital, the Information Age. The infrastructure and human capital related to Digital technology can be a fundamental factor in transforming a countries’ development. As such, it was a fantastic opportunity to discuss with members of the tech community about the importance of tech in Cayman, what the future of tech looks like, and how we can best support its development. I am excited to being part of further work to help our growing tech sector and community.” – Stephen Ta’Bois, STEM Specialist at the Ministry of Education, Youth, Sports, Agriculture & Lands
“It was great to brainstorm as an industry group and hear from individuals working within Cayman’s tech sector. It’s good to know that I’m not alone.” – Shannon Williams, Junior Software Developer at Walkers
Seven Call-to-Actions for the Cayman Islands Tech Community
- Advocate for the sector and promote the Cayman Islands as an excellent jurisdiction to develop tech.
- Focus on talent and nurture an innovative, knowledge-sharing environment.
- Inspire the next generation of tech talent to pursue a diverse array of careers in tech.
- Support the work of educators, institutions and policy makers who are helping to shape national curriculum and tech education.
- Meet regularly with Cayman Islands Government entities and representatives.
- Cultivate a niche differentiation strategy for the Cayman Islands in areas such as, eco tech, artificial intelligence, blockchain, renewable energy, etc.
- Help to develop and champion a culture of entrepreneurship.