15 teams to compete in OPM’s Innovation Challenge 2023

programme signals solidification of govt’s commitment to stimulating creative energies – Min. McCoy

Fifteen teams will be competing in the Industry and Innovation Unit’s 2023 Innovation Challenge.

The challenge, which was launched at the Office of the Prime Minister on Tuesday, is the product of a collaboration between OPM and SBM Offshore Guyana.

Minister within the Office of the Prime Minister with Responsibility for Public Affairs, Kwame McCoy, flanked by Director of the Industry and Innovations Unit, Shahrukh Hussain, and SBM Offshore Guyana Local Content Officer, Garri Fraser

It provides a platform for local tech enthusiasts to display their technologically innovative skills. It is being held under the theme “Transitioning through Innovation.”

The three-day non-stop coding competition offers monetary prizes for first, second and third-place winners, and the opportunity to become a paid tech apprentice with SBM Offshore Guyana.

The competition will commence on June 7, and end on June 9. 

The participants expressed excitement and optimism, as they are tasked with crafting ICT solutions to promote social, economic, technological or even environmental development in Guyana.

Shemar Moore

Shemar Moore, a member of Team Logic, relayed that this is his fourth time participating in a competition of this nature.

Moore expressed a desire to create technological solutions to benefit Guyanese, and the region at large.  

“Being a part of this motivates me to see people actually utilising the software and applications in their daily lives. So, that is what keeps me motivated to participate,” he said.

Kristeen Chase

Another competitor of Team Legacy Technology, Kristeen Chase said the competition has encouraged her to explore horizons.

She expressed excitement at the marathon to come.

“I would have probably waited on this kind of opportunity to come and find me in school. But I have been doing a lot of research and, in making all of these preparations, at the end of it I will have some experience in creating these types of projects,” she said.

Timothy Shiwprasad

Timothy Shiwprasad, who is a member of Team Techtonic, expressed similar sentiments adding that he was encouraged to join because of the opportunities for networking.

“Events like these are very important to foster the culture of technology in Guyana, and actually bring out developers…and help us to network better, and help us to showcase the talent that we have within our country,” he explained.

Another participant, Patrice Harry, of Team Skillshare, said as Guyana transitions to technology-based systems, competitions such as this help to better educate citizens and promote innovation among local tech enthusiasts.

Patrice Harry

He expressed a love for programming that was nurtured by his University of Guyana education, adding that this competition will help to expand his knowledge.

There is this transition towards more computer-based programmes in Guyana. It is a relatively new field, and more persons are becoming actively involved in it. We can use programming software to tackle issues that Guyana is currently facing, for example in agriculture, and oil and gas.,” Harry underscored.

Meanwhile, Minister within the Office of the Prime Minister with Responsibility for Public Affairs, Kwame McCoy, reminded of the government’s manifesto promise to use Information and Communications Technology (ICT) as an engine for economic and social empowerment. This commitment included providing the enabling environment to promote the optimal use of ICT and eliminate the digital gap.

A section of the gathering at the Office of the Prime Minister on Tuesday

The government is taking a multifaceted and sustainable approach to this goal, which includes increasing the academic knowledge and qualifications of Guyanese.

All of these are interlinked to our development as a country, not only that we provide the opportunities in ICTs, but in all other areas that are needed for our development. That is why you see we place so much emphasis on the scholarships and other training programmes in government so that we will be able to bring people along and to take people along a pathway of success and a pathway that helps them to advance academically so that we are prepared for any challenge,” the minister stated.

Minister McCoy emphasised that the launch of this programme signals the solidification of the government’s commitment to stimulating the creative and innovative energies of Guyanese across the country.