OPM’s innovation challenge winners aim to promote increased stakeholder collaboration

The Industry and Innovation Unit’s Innovation Challenge 2023 concluded Sunday, at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre, and this year’s winners aim to promote increased stakeholder collaboration.

The teams competed for cash prizes, as well as the opportunity to benefit from a paid internship at SBM Offshore Guyana. The first-place winner will receive $1 million, while second and third place winners will get $300,000 and $200,000 respectively.

Prime Minister, Brigadier (Ret’d) Mark Phillips, with representatives from SBM Offshore, Industry and Innovation Unit, and the participants of the 2023 Innovation Challenge

Team Infinity Tech Inc. was declared the winner of this year’s hackathon, while the second and third-place tokens went to Team CasTech and Team Logiq respectively.

The teams were judged on a number of criteria, including design and implementation, innovation and originality, teamwork and collaboration, and they were tasked with developing software to address scheduling issues.

Members of Infinity Tech, Rayon Hunte and Lloyd Browman, told the Department of Public Information that they were elated at this achievement, as it is the result of hard work and determination.

Outlining the aim and methodology of their app, Rayon Hunte said, “One of the issues we found is that companies have their internal mail calendars, but they regularly have to meet with persons who are external to the company. These external parties don’t have any insight into the calendar. Our app aims to address that.”

Prime Minister, Brigadier (Ret’d) Mark Phillips hands over first-place token to the team Infinity Tech

Meanwhile, Browman said the intention was to invent something that is different, while ensuring maximum functionality.

“Ideally, we want to encourage collaboration between different stakeholders. We think its use would be beneficial to the current sector, and even those who aren’t particularly into ICT, or government related. We think that all sectors can benefit from a programme like this,” he underscored.

Second-place team member, Maryam Bacchus said she experienced a series of mixed emotions throughout the competition, since this year’s journey was more challenging.

Director of the Industry and Innovations Unit, Shahrukh Hussain hands over third place token to Team Logiq

The 21-year-old said, “When we were first presented with the challenge, it was very different from the previous years’ challenge. Usually, it would be something broad and you would have to create a solution for that, but this year it was a bit stricter. It was a combination of stress and fun. It started to get a bit fun after we started getting somewhere with our project.”

CasTech developed an automated scheduling software, called Emailbot, which aimed to make scheduling appointments and seeking available time slots more convenient.

During his feature address, Prime Minister, Brigadier (Ret’d) Mark Phillips, emphasised the importance of youth involvement in ICTs, in propelling Guyana’s advancement, as well as in piloting the movement for technological transformation.

You can contribute to the greater movement in Guyana that our government wholeheartedly supports, and that is using ICT to transform our lives. Our government is committed to ensuring that ICTs are a part of all sectors in Guyana. We must ensure that our country can leverage the benefits of ICTs and that all persons can access these benefits as part of the fast-paced technologically driven world in which we exist today,” the prime minister said.

General Manager of SBM Offshore Guyana, Martin Cheong, hands over second-place token to CasTech

He also commended the contributions of SBM Offshore for providing the opportunity for employment for three participants, adding that this demonstrates a commitment to the development of Guyana’s youth.

He said this move also speaks to the value of private-public partnerships in fostering development.

This year’s innovation challenge is a collaborative effort between the Industry and Innovation Unit and SBM Offshore, and provided a platform for local tech enthusiasts to display their ICT prowess, and foster the creation of innovative ICT solutions to promote Guyana’s development.

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