The Caribbean Industrial Research Institute (CARIRI) and Republic Bank’s Coding and Innovation Programme 2022 ended on a high note with the PowerUp! Competition which saw all ten of the finalists emerge as prize winners.
CARIRI has been successfully executing ICT educational programmes for the nation’s youths since 2018 and has reached over 5,000 students thus far. In 2018, 2019 and the beginning of 2020, the programme would have been in person, however, when the pandemic happened, the team at CARIRI decided to pivot the programme and offer it virtually. Republic Bank Limited under the Power to Make a Difference (PMAD) programme saw the value in the content and partnered with CARIRI to offer the programme to more students than ever before.
The current Coding and Innovation Programme was designed to include participants aged 10 – 18 and provided them with five options of tracks to choose from which included:
- An introduction to Computer Engineering for kids.
- ICT-enabled Youth Entrepreneurship
- Computer Engineering Concepts for Industry
- New technologies, Ideation and Life Skills
- Introduction to Mobile App Development and Computer Science, Web Technologies and Business Applications.
The programme helped students to understand coding, engineering, business development and innovation and their importance in generating winning ideas that could be created to solve business and community problems. In order to ensure that learning took place and to keep students engaged to the end, this year, a competition aspect was added to keep things interesting for the students. The PowerUp! Competition asked students to identify a problem that currently exists and figure out a way to solve it using technology.
The top ten students were selected and they were able to attend a special class to learn about pretotyping (pretotyping is a way to test a product idea quickly and inexpensively by creating an extremely simple version of the solution). Then they were given two weeks to develop a pretotype of their solution and the final leg of the competition saw the ten students have the opportunity to do a pitch to the judges.
All the students received cash prizes in the form of Republic Bank accounts and the Chief Executive Officer, Mr Hans-Erich Schulz, of CARIRI was so impressed by the dedication and passion of the students that he committed a tablet to each of the ten students.
In first place was Joseann Boneo with Schomoply, second place went to Lionel Clement with Track your Data and third place went to Lloyander Scotland with Sargassum Seaweed Plan. The other participants in the competition were Oghenetega Osoroh, Jurre Cox, Jerrod Prescott, Jordan Cook, Jayden Solomon, Hannah-Marie Redman, Skye Craig.
The judging panel was made up of Mr David Robinson of Republic Bank, Mr Christopher Proute of NIHERST, Mr David Deonarine of the Ministry of Digital Transformation, Mr Devon X Scott, Popular tech Influencer and Mr Hayden Charles of CARIRI.
CARIRI and Republic Bank have already committed themselves to run the programme again in 2023 and look forward to even more students being a part of the experience. The Closing and Prize Giving Ceremony for the Coding and Innovation Programme took place on Monday 7th November at CARIRI’s Centre for Enterprise Development in Freeport.