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By Denise Matthews

As we approach the third-year milestone, the focus of our events continues to be content that is of value to the participants. In the true spirit of cooperation, especially for the benefit of a small jurisdiction it is essential to bring key stakeholders together. During our time running events locally since the launch in March 2017 joining forces with other organisations, educators, businesses and charities by supporting them through the use of the Startup Grind Gibraltar platform has been the driving factor in the success of the local chapter within the global community.

Global 2020 is the conference hosted by Startup Grind the Global community powered by Google for Startups to help foster entrepreneurship in cities around the world. On 11th & 12th of February in Fox Theatre, Redwood City San Francisco Startup Grind celebrated the annual most important event for startups, tech leaders, and big brands at the forefront of innovation. 10,000 people from around the globe converged in Silicon Valley for 2-days of nonstop education, inspiration, and invaluable networking spanning 10 stages, 100+ sessions, and social events.

This has paved the way for some very exciting start-ups to set up business locally.

The Startup Grind Gibraltar Chapter picked up 4 awards in total this year including Director of the Year for the first time in the decade won by a female director (Denise Matthews). It is a privilege to be part of a community that is now run in over 600 cities around the world. The very talented founder Derek Andersen built the software Bevy, bevyhq.com, that makes the onboarding process and scaling possible around the world.

For the past six months, the Fireside Chats have included talks from developers to venture capital for start-ups. In this summary of what the local events have featured there is some insight, always thanks to the support of our attendees, team, sponsors and partners, of the achievements of ranking Gibraltar in the top 2% of successful chapters in the world.
In October, Gib Devs, a local meetup group for mainly developers and tech industry workers in the gaming community, were the event partners as part of the Global Heroku Special Product and Engineering Month. At the core of Gibraltar’s thriving gaming economy are the developers and software engineers that have driven our economy to great levels and therefore this was also an opportunity to embrace their work.

On the 19th November as part of the US – Gibraltar Enterprise & Thanksgiving Week with the Gibraltar – America Chamber of Commerce AmCham we hosted Vadim Balashov the Managing Director of Viaduct Ventures a Technology focused early-stage venture fund based in Palo Alto California who was visiting Gibraltar. Newly elected Sir Joe Bossano, Minister for Economic Development delivered opening remarks on the links between Gibraltar and the US. This will touch upon the history of the deal that brought Nynex Communications a US company to Gibraltar now GibTelecom.

After the December End of Year Party in aid of Childline Gibraltar, 2020 started with talk of Gibraltar’s regulatory framework of Distributed Ledger Technology with the flagship tech Blockchain. This has paved the way for some very exciting start-ups to set up business locally. Participating in the discussion were Diego Gutierrez Zaldivar,CEO of RSK & IOVLabs, Gaurang Torvekar CEO of Indorse, Malcolm Palle Chairman of Coinsilium and Joey Garcia Fintech Partner at Isolas. They covered the opportunities and challenges facing start-ups in the blockchain technology sector and asked the important questions, what advantages Gibraltar offers start-ups and business in the blockchain technology space and what is the scale of the opportunity for Gibraltar.

Aaron Baw, a young, Gibraltarian now works as a software engineer for Apple in UK.

The event hosted by Coinsilium was designed specifically for those looking for an accessible entry point and a real understanding of Blockchain Technologies, their game-changing applications and a clear perspective of technology development opportunities and the investment landscape with a special welcome from Honourable Minister for Digital Services, Financial Services & Gaming Albert Isola MP.

And so to give back to the community, one of the most promising projects to support this year so far the Gibraltar Digital Skills Foundation which launched on 27th February at the StartUp Grind Gibraltar Fireside Chat with Aaron Baw and David Black on the Sunborn Hotel. The recently registered charity is aiming to deliver the development of digital skills around Gibraltar. At the launch, one of the founding trustees, Stewart Harrison showcased the initial initiatives and projects the Foundation has organised for 2020. These include working with the HM Prison delivering Pitman qualifications in Microsoft Office and the local Girl Guide packs to teach the Digital Skill badges such as the Google and NCSC badges.

Local students received their Inspiring Digital Enterprise Awards from Hon. Minister for Digital and Financial Services Albert Isola MP. There was also an opportunity to try out Gibraltar’s first ever cyber challenge, Rock Defenders which is a joint public-private sector sponsored project led by the Foundation and will be carried out by over 900 local comprehensive students in March.

Aaron Baw, a young, Gibraltarian former Bayside student who was the team leader of team G-SEC winning the final round of CyberCenturion in the 2016 competition held at Bletchley Park’s National Museum of Computing now works as a software engineer for Apple in UK. He gave his insights as to why the foundation is an essential component of the education system after having also started up various tech businesses.

David Black shared the perspective of the tech employer with 20 years’ experience within the online gaming and technology sectors in various roles from software licensing to data centre as the first employee of Continent 8 Technologies PLC. Both guests were true examples of the Startup Grind Values to educate, inspire and connect with quite a number of young people in the audience. This was an overall excellent contribution.

As we continue to build within our community there is always room for partnerships. Throughout these past three years there are many to thank and there is always a need for more private and public support, if you would like to get involved or for more information on upcoming events please visit startupgrind.com/Gibraltar.

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