FREEPORT, GB - What a difference a year makes – 8,760 “little” hours.

A year ago, before November 2017, the idea of Grand Bahama becoming a Technology Hub was perhaps non-existent. The Second City seemed satisfied to prosper and take advantage of its stellar reputation as the Industrial capitol of the Bahamas, with its financial and tourism institutions bringing up the rear of a once thriving economy.

However, tasked by a strong mandate by the Prime Minister of The Bahamas, to take up the task of introducing a technology industry into Grand Bahama, the Office of the Prime Minister gave birth to the Grand Bahama Technology Summit, which launched its first conference in November of 2017.

A year later, Grand Bahama quickly moved from a technological possibility to becoming a technological hub imitative, not just for The Bahamas, but for the Caribbean.

Since the initial Grand Bahama Technology Summit was held a year ago, Grand Bahama - Freeport in particular - has made moves to make their technology aspirations a reality.  The establishment of a Technology Hub Steering Committee was the first step and it has brought together professionals in the field of technology to make the necessary recommendations to the Government on exactly how to carry out the task of making Grand Bahama a Technology Hub.

Also since a year ago, investors in the form of technology focused companies and businesses, such as GIBC, Carnival’s Ocean Medallion Project and Itel-bpo, among others, have either been introduced into Grand Bahama or have expanded their businesses respectively.  The prospects of even more such technology based businesses setting up shop on the island, are in the pipeline, with a promise of coming to fruition in a matter of months.

A year ago, a Bahamian government delegation, led by Prime Minister of the Bahamas, Hon. Dr. Hubert A. Minnis, accompanied by the Minister of State for Grand Bahama and others, participating in a fact-finding trip to Texas, where they met with top executives from well-known technology companies, to discuss prospects and opportunities for such technology companies opening offices in Grand Bahama, was, at one time, only a dream.

The establishment of an Information, Communications Technology (ICT) program at Bahamas Technical, Vocational Institute free of charge to interested Bahamians, had not even been considered in the past Administration’s agenda. Yet, just weeks ago, a number of graduates from that program took part in a ceremony where they received their ICT certification certificates.

A year ago talks about making Freeport a “Smart City” had never before been raised and presented in an open forum. And now there are plans on paper to make this a reality.

All of this has transpired since the launch of the first Grand Bahama Technology Summit and even more technological advances are on the way.

If that much could be achieved in just one year, imagine what more could be accomplished after year two, three, four and beyond of the Summit. Well, Grand Bahamians are about to find out, as the second annual Grand Bahama Technology Summit is set to take place at the Grand Lucayan Resort, November 14-16, 2018.

If there was low expectations about the Summit last year (because it was the first of its kind), then it’s safe to assume– based on the success of the first and the positive results that followed – that expectations for this year’s Summit will be extremely high.

Under the theme “the future is now”, the second annual Grand Bahama Technology Summit is expected to attract Knowledgeable, top technology experts to headline the list of speakers at this year’s Summit.

Those attending the 2018 GB Tech Summit will get up-to-date information on the advancement in technology around the world, and how best to apply such advances locally in businesses, companies and even within Governments.

As Grand Bahama continues its goal to become a Technology Hub in the region, the GB Summit will play an integral role in helping the Technology Hub Steering Committee to achieve that goal.

The Technology Summit is seeking to achieve three things for key industry stakeholders – to connect, explore and invest. It is also intended to establish and grow the technology industry sector in Grand Bahama, similar to that of the Tourism and Financial Services sectors.

Grand Bahama Island, over a year ago was known primarily as the Industrial capitol of the Bahamas, but now it is quickly becoming the gateway for innovation and technology, establishing itself as the Silicon Island of the Caribbean.

With so many technological advances in terms of establishing new tech related businesses on the island, expanding existing tech related businesses and companies and advancing the use of up-to-date technology in everyday business following the initial Tech Summit, one can only look forward to what will come to pass at the completion of this year’s Grand Bahama Tech Summit.

Word of the success of last year’s Tech Summit has already gone out worldwide and now people from throughout the United States, Canada and even as far away as Africa, are making plans to attend the Second annual Grand Bahama Technology Summit this November.

In the meantime, as Grand Bahamians look forward to the prospects which becoming a Technology Hub can bring, many have come to the realization that as the island continues to grow economically, in population and technologically, it is easy to see that the future of advanced technology is upon us.