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The Antigua and Barbuda Science Innovation Park (ABSIP) is viewing the new year in a positive light, as hosting its fourth hackathon is one of the activities on the cards.

In a release, it predicted that “2021 is slated to be a productive year for ABSIP and its growing international partners”.

The 2021 schedule includes a number of training and skills development programmes for local youths, while the focus of the hackathon — which will be a joint undertaking with one of its international partners, United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) – will be on building local start-ups to address local problems.

The science innovation park, which opened in May 2019, “aims to lead national innovation that will impact the country’s economic, social, and cultural development”.

“ABSIP is positioned to empower and advance the skills of talented Antiguans and Barbudans through skills training and providing a business incubator service for entrepreneur start-ups,” its CEO, Winston Williams, said in the release.

ABSIP, which falls under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Immigration and Trade, comes under the chairmanship of Minister EP Chet Greene, and the board of directors prioritises empowering and developing local talent by using their skills to solve real world business problems.

Meanwhile, ABSIP’s current initiatives include answering the call to develop a national contact tracing app after the CEO pulled together a team of local developers and supporting visionaries to design an app and connected wearable device for monitoring and tracing individuals.

The digital solution is designed to provide automated dashboard updates, manage the Covid-19 data for locals, returning nationals and visitors, provide rapid tracing, and maintain communication between government agencies to include the Ministry of Health, police and immigration officials.

Mako S Williams and Andrea Andrew are the team leaders for this venture.

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