Microsoft opens Freeport Innovation Centre

CARIRI Chairman Hayden Ferreira, left, Microsoft Country Manager Frances Correia, Minister of Planning Dr Bhoendradatt Tewarie, Microsoft Senior Technology Marketing Manager Elisa Hung, Couva North MP Ramona Ramdial, and CARIRI CEO Liaquat Ali Shah, cut the ribbon to officially open the Microsoft Innovation Centre at the Centre for Enterprise Development in Freeport.
CARIRI Chairman Hayden Ferreira, left, Microsoft Country Manager Frances Correia, Minister of Planning Dr Bhoendradatt Tewarie, Microsoft Senior Technology Marketing Manager Elisa Hung, Couva North MP Ramona Ramdial, and CARIRI CEO Liaquat Ali Shah, cut the ribbon to officially open the Microsoft Innovation Centre at the Centre for Enterprise Development in Freeport.

The 116th Microsoft Innovation Centre (MIC) in the world and the first of its kind in the English-speaking Caribbean was opened in Freeport on October 6 by Microsoft Trinidad and Tobago and the Caribbean Industrial Research Institute, to provide training in ICT technology for the region.

The local centre offers world-class resources and support for students, IT professionals, academic researchers, entrepreneurs and start-ups, to accelerate the creation of new companies, jobs and growth of the local software ecosystem. The MIC will contribute to the diversification of the Trinidad and Tobago economy, and strengthening of small and medium enterprises that exist in related industries.

Senator Dr the Honourable Bhoendradatt Tewarie, Minister of Planning and Sustainable Development,  gave the feature address and performed the ribbon cutting to open the centre located in the CARIRI Centre for Enterprise Developmen.

“The services provided are designed to boost information communication technology development and advance the growth of sustainable local software economies through skills and professional training, industry partnerships and innovation,” Dr Tewarie said. “This is directly linked to the Government’s thrust to diversify and build the capacity for economic development through ICTs.  The MIC provides an avenue for individuals and groups to develop their potential while creating global ICT enterprises locally.”

The centre will be operated by Microsoft and its community partner, CARIRI.   The partnership is an organic one, providing services like laboratory and field testing, consulting, research and development, and training. The centre will offer users programmes and services designed to develop their skills as well as to foster innovation and collaboration.

“The services provided at the Microsoft Innovation Centre are designed to boost ICT technology development and foster the growth of sustainable local software economies through skills and professional training, industry partnerships and innovation.  The centre will provide the knowledge sharing and training required for start-ups, and even to sustain existing businesses,” said CARIRI chief executive officer, Liaquat Ali Shah. 

Microsoft and CARIRI signed the historic Memorandum of Understanding on May 15, 2014,

“The opening of the Microsoft Innovation Center in Trinidad signals our commitment to providing resources and technology that help spur economic development and create opportunities for the region. We are confident that through our partnership, the nexus of entrepreneurship and technology will boost local economic development and help the centre become a Caribbean-wide hub for technological innovation.  Ultimately, this will empower its people and the region, helping it becomes a more prosperous place to live and work,” Correia said.