Our Silicon Valley in Trinidad and Tobago

What is Silicon Valley? This is the home to many startup and global tech companies in California, United States. Words like disruption and innovation are often used when talking about Silicon Valley. The name came from the large number of silicon chip innovators that were based in the region.

What is our tech startup culture like in Trinidad and Tobago? Where is the innovation? What are we missing? How does this fit with our economic diversification goals? I would say that startups and innovation are limited because we have mainly risk-adverse investors. There is limited startup funding including venture capital and angel investors. We have become complacent because of our dependence on the energy sector. Tech and tech startups would be pivotal to our diversification efforts.

In this article, Tamana Intech Park marries ecology with technology, then minister Maxie Cuffie says, “This can be our Silicon Valley – where creation and collaboration can produce new high-paying sustainable careers." I think what we need to do now is cut our losses and make it cheaper for tech startups to enter Tamana park. We are in the midst of pandemic recovery and some of that relief money should go to tech startups. We need to work on the ease of doing business locally to attract more foreign investments.

What we have going for us is talent, internet infrastructure and location. With hundreds of tech and engineering graduates every year there is no shortage of persons ready to take on the challenges of today. Virtana, a Silicon Valley startup with a location in Trinidad says, "T&T has a strong tertiary educational system which generates a highly educated but underemployed workforce in the fields of software engineering & scientific computing."

In his piece, How to build your own Silicon Valley and keep your soul, author, Tristan identifies these 6 keys that I agree with, education, media, recruitment, infrastructure, programs, and funding. I am glad to be a part of the media landscape as a tech blogger. Leave a comment. Share with me your thoughts on having our own Silicon Valley in Trinidad and Tobago.

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