Global tech conference launches in Jamaica


A new global conference and community platform in Jamaica will encourage relationships between tech entrepreneurs, investors and executives, and serve as a true business catalyst offering a more immersive experience for participants.

Tech Beach Retreat is designed to connect the Caribbean’s tech ecosystem with the rest of the world, creating an international community of like-minded individuals who meet in the region. The inaugural event from December 1 to 3 in Montego Bay offers something a little different — an all-inclusive experience; a single destination where speakers, participants and media meet free of hierarchy.

The conference takes advantage of Jamaica’s popular all-inclusive resort infrastructure, where guests pay a single fee and never have to worry about food and beverage.

The concept is that with guests staying in a campus-style environment at the same resort, it will be easier for people to meet, exchange ideas and build meaningful long-term relationships.

“I learned a long time ago that networking is not about how many people you can meet at an event; it’s about access. You can walk away with 100 business cards from people who won’t remember you or answer your emails, or you can make 10 meaningful connections with people who see your vision and want you to be successful,”said Tech Beach Founder Kirk-Anthony Hamilton.

A Jamaican entrepreneur, Hamilton has been recognised as one of 75 Emerging Global Entrepreneurs by US President Barack Obama and was also selected as one of 50 under-30 Global Shapers from around the world to participate in the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, for his work with “The Destination Experience”.

Hamilton partnered with Phin Mpofu, a fellow member of the Global Shapers Community, an initiative of the World Economic Forum, to create Tech Beach. Mpofu is a UK-based tech entrepreneur who was recently recognised as one of 100 entrepreneurs to watch on the 2016 Maserati 100 list. He is also director at Startup Grind, the largest tech entrepreneur community in the world, with more than 400,000 members.

Hamilton and Mpofu recruited Kyle Maloney from Trinidad and Tobago, one of the Caribbean’s most promising tech entrepreneurs in the big data space.

All three are passionate about diversity in the tech space, with the mission of making Tech Beach Retreat the most diverse tech gathering in the world across race, geographic location and gender. This is reflected in the growing roster of speakers who have signed on to participle in the conference.

Speakers include: Paul Ahlstrom, Alta Growth Capital; Stephan Morais, executive board member, Caixa Capital — a US$750-million venture capital fund; Allison Kopf, CEO of Agrilyst — winner of Tech Crunch Disrupt NY 2016; Will Hayes, president and CEO of Lucidworks; Ayori Selassie, senior solutions engineer at Salesforce, and many more regional and international experts.

Guests are already confirmed from North America, Europe, Africa and the Caribbean.

Tech Beach Retreat will focus on ‘Exponential Growth and Impact: Designing your business to manage the challenges and take advantage of the opportunities of tomorrow and beyond’.

The programme breaks this down into more specific pillars, like big data and security, diversity in tech, artificial intelligence, the shared economy and the future of payments. Tech Beach Retreat will also feature amazing entertainment, as one would expect in Jamaica.

Tech Beach is officially endorsed by Jamaica Promotions Corporation and is sponsored by the Development Bank of Jamaica and Delta Airlines, amongst others. Opportunities are still available.

“We want to bring a global ecosystem of resources to the Caribbean, so we are welcoming participants from all over the world to join us for a one-of-a-kind experience and access to a unique international community of like-minded individuals,” Hamilton said.


Jamaica Observer
Published Date: 
Wednesday, October 19, 2016