ICTs for Development

Markets and Value Chains

Mobile innovation on Caribbean islands

May 7, 2013

The Caribbean Mobile Innovation Project, launched by infoDev, aims to help mobile app innovators in the region bring their mobile apps, services and content to the market and build growth-oriented startups into successful enterprises.

The Caribbean offers a number of opportunities that make the region prime for the development of its mobile innovation ecosystem. It has a high adoption rate of mobile phones (with over 100% penetration), nearly 100% network coverage on many islands, expanding 3G and 4G networks, a growing demand for mobile applications and a policy environment that makes it easy for citizens to start a business.

The development of the regions mobile industry faces several challenges, however. Several factors are currently missing in the region that would help mobile startup businesses to thrive. First, there is limited collaboration between mobile innovation communities from different islands in the Caribbean, which is a typical feature of thriving startup ecosystems. There is also a lack of mentors and role models who can pass their industry knowledge on to aspiring entrepreneurs. Finally, there is an inadequate level of seed financing, and many developers have not been able to monetise their apps in order to develop a sustainable business.