TSTT CEO Ronald Walcott

bmobile MIFI devices help power Tobago Animation Hub

TSTT Corporate Communications

Press Release

Economic realities demand that Trinidad and Tobago seek alternative means of job creation and foreign exchange revenues. One area that has come into focus globally is the creative economy. Beyond energy industries and the development of our tourism sector, Tobago's Eco-Industrial Development Company of Tobago (E-IDCOT) Ltd was established by the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) in 2009 as a wholly-owned, private limited liability company responsible for the development and diversification of the Tobago economy.

The company has been working with the University of Trinidad and Tobago to establish a satellite animation hub at Cove, Tobago. The primary focal points include becoming a certified animation teaching facility for Tobagonians and realising the goal of being a CAPE-certified examination facility to evolve the capability and capacity of Tobagonians to undertake outsourced commercial work from established movie studios. In recognition of these goals and the challenging reality of continuing training remotely, local communications solution provider bmobile recently contributed MiFi devices to E-IDCOT, including connectivity service for six months for students.

Gerard Cooper, General Manager Shared Services, TSTT, noted that this aligns with the native communications company's continued goals of empowering youth through education and technology. "We recognise that remote education remains a privilege for a number of students who possess the passion and purpose but lack the tools to connect to their classes as we continue to face the regulations regarding in-person classes due to COVID-19. Working with the University of Trinidad and Tobago and E-IDCOT, we have identified a number of students who can benefit from bmobile’s technology," he added. "bmobile continues to do our best to assist in areas that we can, so that we are not stymied by the pandemic but instead empower our talented young people to continue to grow and develop their skills. This in turn bolsters our economy for the recovery ahead," he noted.

Kamau Akili, Chairman of E-IDCOT, welcomed the timely gift. "We operate the Eco-industrial and Business Park at Cove which includes a number of buildings and businesses, but we have invested in animation studies as a driver and facilitator of diversification plans in Tobago. We see
it as a viable and growing industry and we already have all the raw materials and talent as well as our stories and history to draw on to make it a viable one," he pointed out. “The program commenced but was cut short due to covid-19 regulations. The response to public advertisements and a roadshow highlighting the program's launch resulted in a large number of applicants. From this, several students were identified as needing connectivity to continue the program. With the support of bmobile students were provided with the required connectivity.” Mr. Akili also noted that they are seeking investors to assist their goals of becoming a UTT and CAPE-certified institution and grow into a viable industry for Tobago on the global stage.

Eco-Industrial Parks are a critical element of the overall strategy to diversify the Tobago economy through the growth and development of environmentally sustainable local, regional and international businesses. Visitors to the island and citizens of Tobago would already be familiar with the Cove Eco-Industrial Park, the first of its kind on the island. E-IDCOT also provides business facilitation services to individuals, start-up operations and established companies on the island.

According to The Economic Impact of the Creative Industries in the Americas, a report prepared by Oxford Economics for the IDB, British Council and Organisation of American States, the creative sector already accounts for between 5 to 11% of employment in Canada and Colombia, Mexico and Trinidad and Tobago. However, Visual Arts and New Media account for less than 10% in terms of the creative sector goods available for export and represents a viable means of growth, employment, and revenue generation for T&T. The global animation market was estimated at US$335billion in 2019.