Women in Tech to make an impact at bmobile Innovation Week
Port-of-Spain, Trinidad – January 23, 2019
‘Women in Technology’ will form part of the much anticipated bmobile Innovation Week which will be hosted by the leading communications solution provider from January 28th to February 1st. Innovation week, a new addition to the week-long, bmobile Connect Technology Conference, will showcase several new and existing female innovators and startup companies that create or utilize technology solutions to solve many of the common business problems that companies and consumers face. TSTT Executive, Rakesh Goswami, noted that women are traditionally underrepresented in the technology industry but there are many benefits to having more women in ICT. “Research has shown that the active involvement of women in technology is closely tied to the development of a country and the global economy. Gender diversity drives greater innovation and competitiveness and companies with teams that include women outperform others by 15%. From bringing more diversity of thought to problem solving, to ensuring there is representation of women, the largest single economic force in the world, in decision-making teams, a more gender diverse workforce leads to business solutions that are better at solving the needs of all its customers.”
Goswami stated that as technology continues to develop and disrupt, women have the opportunity to make a difference and be a part of this dynamic industry. It was therefore essential that women and girls be encouraged to take an active interest in having a career in technology. “Startups have the opportunity to take advantage of the benefits of gender diversity from inception and Innovation Week will form part of the many ways that bmobile celebrates the ways that women are making an impact in ICT in Trinidad and Tobago and encourage more women and girls to pursue a career in ICT.”
Kelly-Ann Bethel is the founder and Business Development Manager of SKED, an online appointment booking app for small and micro enterprises (SMEs). Bethel’s academic background is in business management yet she leads a startup technology company. She emphasized that while it is important for more girls to pursue an education in the ICT fields, it was not necessary to work in the technology industry. “Many people think that they must have a technology background to start an IT business. However they don’t have to know how to code. It’s essential that to have a great business idea and ensure that there is a good supporting team that buys into the vision to make it a reality. I work with a team of developers and I do everything else except the actual coding.”
Bethel explained that their market research revealed that 97% of SMEs in Trinidad and Tobago, such as hairdressers, barbers, doctors and spas, were still using paper diaries to manage their appointments. They were not keeping good business records or operating efficiently. SKED offers a comprehensive online business solution that allows a company to manage their clients by booking appointments online; track their revenues daily and monthly; save client notes; use automatic appointment reminders; and communicate with clients through the platform. In addition, customers can search the online SKED database along the various service categories; select the service provider they want; check to see when an appointment is available; and book their own appointment.
As part of Innovation Week, SKED will be hosting a Business Cocktail Mixer on Monday 28th January at B’s Tropical Cafe in Starlite Shopping Plaza, Diego Martin at 7pm. Attendance is free and a few of SKED’s existing customers will share how they used the app to grow and scale their business. “I commend bmobile for the Innovation Week initiative. It is needed and it is also a great opportunity to get people together to talk about technology and innovation.”
Ria Karim, a Management Consultant, is another woman with no ICT background who is the driving force behind a tech startup. Her app, D’Junction, is the Caribbean’s Digital Entertainment Hub and provides a free platform to obtain event information year round in a dynamic, user-friendly interface. Karim noted that D’Junction also started as an idea and what she focused on is that ICT is something that can be used to solve problems and create opportunities. She then found the right technical resources to work with her. “It truly was a case of necessity being the mother of invention. I recall standing on a Junction in Port-of-Spain one Carnival Tuesday trying to find a band. People gave conflicting directions and the search was futile. I pledged to create a solution to solve this problem. D’Junction was launched in 2016 and we are now poised to fully launch regionally. The demand for the app is unbelievable.” Karim and her team will showcase the new features of the D’Junction app during their 2019 launch at Innovation Week.
Innovation Week is open to the public, however, online registration at bmobileconnect.com is required. Attendees will join over 20 entrepreneurs, startup companies and organizations as they showcase their ideas, services or products through various types of interactive events held throughout Trinidad.