The market for smartphones and mobile apps is a closely related market, moreover, with
Trinidad and Tobago and other English-speaking Caribbean islands being tiny domestic markets
for mobile app developers, internationalization is a key strategy for mobile app ventures looking
to scale up.The most recent statistics from the Telecommunications Authority of Trinidad and
Tobago show mobile phone penetration of well over 100%, with the September 2014 figure for
the number of mobile voice subscriptions being 1,925,000.
Research firm Gartner estimates the total number of mobile app downloads globally (both free
and paid) will soar to 269 billion in 2017, up from 102 billion in 2013.Developer Economics
estimates that there are 2.9 million mobile app developers in the world, creating more than 2
The Local Mobile App Industry
With over 100% mobile phone penetration in Trinidad and Tobago, a large and growing
proportion of which represents smartphones, more and more people are downloading and using
apps. Thousands of smartphone users will have ideas for apps, with a subset willing to take steps
towards having these apps created.
The developer community in Trinidad and Tobago comprises mainly mobile app developers who
are at varying levels of experience, expertise and activity. Some are self-taught developers, while
others have received formal training here in the region, at a North American or European
institution, or online. Judging from participation in events like hackathons, local and
international competitions, start-up weekends, and networking events around the country, it can
be inferred that the number of people with advanced mobile application development skills is in
the low hundreds.
In terms of demographics, while mobile app development might have a natural, almost
instinctive appeal to tech savvy millennial, the demographics of mobile app developers in
Trinidad and Tobago, and wider Caribbean, vary widely in terms of age, gender and
income. Several educational institutions in Trinidad and Tobago offer mobile app development
training at certificate, diploma, Bachelor or Master’s Degree level. In all cases where the training
is offered at tertiary level, these courses are offered as individual modules or even part of an ICT
module rather than as a specialism or main area of focus. In some instances one-off short courses
are also offered by technology partners like Microsoft, who have a vested interest in promoting
However, knowing the precise number of mobile app developers is less important than
understanding the trends in terms of people showing an interest in becoming mobile app
developers, or coming up with ideas for apps. The trends show an increasing number of people
seeking formal and informal training in app development, as well as participating in proof of
concept competitions and start-up competitions with mobile app ideas, prototypes, or fully built
solutions which can all be provided at CARIRI’s mCentre.
Centre for Enterprise Development
The Centre for Enterprise Development (CED) is a flagship development of CARIRI which is
aimed at facilitating Research, Development and Innovation. The Tekmania arm of CED
accommodates Information and Communication Technology (ICT) project initiatives being
undertaken by CARIRI that are geared towards enhancing the operational efficiencies of SMEs.
One section of TekMania is the mCentre which is the only mobile applications laboratory and accelerator in the region which incubates high potential mobile app developers. The lab provides world class business and technical training to high potential individuals on mobile application development and entrepreneurship on all platforms. mCentre is a shared space where technology and entrepreneurs can interact, work, gain access to tools and expertise, deploy their solutions and start and grow their businesses.