Island-wide Wi-Fi access by November 11, 2011 or Wi-Fi Barbados – 11/11/11, as it has been dubbed, represents one of the top priority objectives of the Barbados Entrepreneurship Foundation.
Damian McKinney, CEO of the Foundation, likened the accomplishment of total Wi-Fi access in Barbados to astronaut Neil Armstrongâ€™s step on to the moon. Â He said that its accomplishment would be â€œone small step for the BEF, and one giant step for Barbados.â€ McKinney stressed the importance of wide collaboration among all stakeholders, explaining that part of â€œthe initiative focuses on encouraging local businesses to remove the â€˜padlockâ€™ on their Wi-Fi to allow Barbadians and visitors alike access [to Wi-Fi] from bus stop to rum shop.â€
The concept of island-wide access to the internet arose out of the Business Facilitation Pillar, one of the five pillars on which the Foundation will construct its initiatives as it strives to accomplishing its vision: â€œBarbados is the #1 Entrepreneurial Hub in the World by 2020.â€ Â The other pillars are: Finance, Government Policy, Mentorship and Networking, and Talent Development and Education.
Melanie Jones, partner and head of the International Business Practice of Lex Caribbean, champions the Business Facilitation Pillar. Â John Howard a member of the committee and President of Summit International Bank Limited noted that â€œachievement of this goal will have tremendous marketing benefits for the island, especially in tourism. Â It will also seriously enhance the ease of business facilitation and bring credibility to our goal to make everything work first time, every time.â€
Jones said that there are other advantages to accomplishing island wide Wi-Fi access including, â€œour sense of achievement at accomplishing this goal on a national level and then offering it in the global marketplace. A Wi-Fi island.â€ Â Jones, in making her contribution to the Wi-Fi campaign encouraged Barbadians to â€œownâ€ the project and share in the credibility which it will deliver at a national level – â€œLet’s get Connected – We’ll be Respected.â€
Other members of the Wi-Fi Committee include: co-leads on the Wi-Fi Valuation Initiative, Tara Frater, Senior Associate, LEX Caribbean and Neil Clegg, Senior Trade Commissioner, Candian High Commission, Corey Graham, 2.0 Drenaline Productions, Shannon Clarke, Drenaline Productions, Chris Harper, Executive Director, Barbados Entrepreneurship Foundation, Lisa Gale, Executive Director, Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry [BCCI] and Sharon Christie, BCCI.
The WiFi Technical Initiative led by Emerson Marshall, Digicel, includes: Ian Worrell, Bermont Investments, Patrick Hinkson, TeleBarbados, Ricky Wendt, Lime and David O. Smith, UWI.