TYEE’s Official Launch of the first Youth Tech Incubator Centre (YTIC) & Tonga Youth Market Connect (TYMC) in Nuku'alofa.
Nuku'alofa, 10 November 2018 - TYEE marked it's Fourth Year Anniversary with the Official Launch of the first youth technology entrepreneurship hub, YTIC, and Tonga youth market connect hub, TYMC at House of Tonga Building, Mailetaha, Nuku'alofa. The hubs will provide technology solutions to some of the challenges and barriers facing the youth of Tonga. The hubs' are dedicated to invest in the young generation, its future leaders and new enterprises, by developing their ICT and entrepreneurship skills for business and attracting business mentors, social investors and business incubators who can support youth enterprises and their development.
The Guest of Honour, New Zealand High Commissioner to Tonga, Her Excellency Tiffany Babington, and alongside H.E, the Estate Holder & Noble of the Realm and Member of Parliament, Hon. Lord Fakafanua joined by the President of the Free Church of Tonga, Rev. Semisi Fonua to celebrate another TYEE milestone event.
The theme for TYEE's Fourth Year Anniversary is: “Promoting and Celebrating Youth Employment, Technology and Entrepreneurship.” As a growing organisation, we hope to continue to develop our two broad objectives of promoting youth employment and youth entrepreneurship – with a particular focus on Information Communications and Technology (ICT).
“We want to give a "one-stop-shop platform" where youth can unlock their potential by coming up with ideas on tech entrepreneurship,” explains Lusia Latu-Jones, Founder & President of TYEE.
The launch of the two hubs marks the next step of the journey at TYEE and fulfills a desire to entrench a technology culture among Tonga’s youth - who represent about 32 per cent of the country’s population, while supporting the economic transformation of Tonga.
The hubs will focus on three key areas; skills and capability development, digital ecosystem building, and facilitating links with Tonga, regional and international businesses. This will help to build skilled, entrepreneurial and networked populations which will create jobs and address digital inequality.
The focus of the YTIC is also on preparedness for the“International Computer Driver License (ICDL)”. This is a globally recognized standard of competency that learners can study for and take online assessments in order to gain vital qualifications. Currently there is a no official ICDL testing center available in Tonga.
The hubs offer young entrepreneurs a platform for technological innovations and collaborations, including ICT skills for business, entrepreneurship business training, mentorship, access to computers and internet connectivity, project evaluation, and support during the incubation stages of their start-ups. The hubs will also offer research and working space for young people and youth entrepreneurs keen on using technology to drive business. The hubs will also help to harness the potential of developing markets, boosting prosperity locally, regionally and internationally for Tonga young entrepreneurs through increased trade and investment.
The two hubs will look for more qualified tech companies not only in Tonga but also internationally to occupy the space, provide industry knowledge, technical expertise and create synergies. Events and industry-specific programs will be organised at the hubs for youth and young entrepreneurs, keeping with the mandate of building competitive, scalable and environmentally impactful solutions.
The two hubs will create positive change locally by supporting job creation, improving skills and boosting innovation partnerships, whilst strengthening our own emerging digital economy even further.
“We believe it is time for Tonga's youth to come to the fore with their ideas, claim and invest in their future,” Latu-Jones notes.
Latu-Jones says their motivation comes from the desire to nurture and bring new ideas to life. She also mentions that the initiative was inspired by experiences in Asia, New Zealand, Australia and Europe, which have thriving technology innovation hubs.
Latu-Jones and TYEE Team look forward to collaborating with existing partners, corporate sponsors, global networks of like-minded technology entrepreneurs and other technology hubs. They also plan to encourage the contribution and participation of youth to reach not only Tonga's youth national strategic plan priority areas in (i) job creations, (ii) skills development, but also the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“We want to make sure we combine our agenda with the global SDGs. If you look at the goals, each of them has an effect on Tonga. For example, SDGs one, four and eight, which is to end poverty, provide quality education and tackle youth unemployment through creating decent work for economic growth are areas that we as innovation hubs of youth and young entrepreneurs, would want to address,” Latu-Jones explains.
Targeting digitally empowered youth, YTIC & TYMC hubs bank on the fertile ground for technology and the widespread use of mobile telephony in Tonga, to achieve its objectives.
About 93 per cent of the entire population has access to mobile services. That means we are already dealing with technology in one way or another. It’s an inescapable force that we have to reckon with,” Latu-Jones says.
“ According to the APNIC report :
“We believe that technology can bring a solution to the country’s multifaceted challenges,” she adds.
The United Nations recognises the role of youth in promoting initiatives and innovation projects that support social development, and encourages creativity and innovative ideas that open new avenues to solving some of Tonga and the global problems.
The event was celebrated in two parts, first with the official programme of Launching the two new hubs at House of Tonga, followed by the second part - a small cocktail reception with a Special Auction held at the Waterfront Lodge hosted by Liz Cowley and her staff.
Amongst the attendance at the event, were Representatives from TYEE's Partner Organisations and Corporate Sponsors, Director of Youth Division - Ministry of Internal Affairs, Employers, Board members of TYEE and staff.
50 Cupcakes were kindly donated by My Cake House by L&H, also a Board member of TYEE to celebrate TYEE's 4th Year Anniversary.
Special Auction Item - Signed MMT Rugby Jersey, Proudly Sponsored and Donated by
Included in the Special Auction - Sponsored Item kindly donated by PACIFIC BREWERY COMPANY.
Sold to the Highest Bidder:
Mr. Minoru Nishi
TYEE thank Pacific Brewery for their kind donation and support, and to the winning bidder!
Included in the Special Auction was Sponsored Item kindly donated by SELEKA INTERNATIONAL ART SOCIETY INITIATIVE.
- A beautiful piece of art work post cyclone Gita
Sold to the Highest Bidder:
Zeyn, Scenic Hotel Tonga
TYEE thank Seleka Art (SIASI) for their kind donation and support, and to the winning bidder!
Included in the Special Auction was Sponsored Item kindly donated by the CEO, Tonga Ministry of Land and Survey
Sold to the Highest Bidder:
Mr. Sione T Fonua, House of Tonga
TYEE thank CEO Rosamond Bing for her kind donation and support, and to the winning bidder!
- Noble of the Realm & Lord Speaker of Parliament, Honorable Lord Fakafanua.
- President of the Free Church of Tonga, Rev. Semisi Fonua.
- To all our Valued Partner Organisations, Corporate Sponsors
- All Sponsors of the Special Auction Items and the Winning Bidders.
- Ministry of Internal Affairs - Youth Division 2018.
- Tonga Broadcasting Commission (TBC)
- My Cake House by L & H
- Ancient Tonga
- SCH Lawyers
- House of Tonga
- Waterfront Restaurant & Lodge
- 12 Timers String Band
- TROW SFL Groups
- Seleka International Art Studio Initiative
- Leata Boutique Fashion & Gift Shop
- Kakala Skincare 'o Tonga
- Tonga Power Ltd & Nuku'alofa Network Upgrade Project
- Mr. Craig Brown, CTB Limited, New Zealand.
- Nishi Trading Ltd
- Scenic Hotel Tonga
- Digicel Group Tonga
- VSA & The Tindall Foundation New Zealand
- Tonga Skills
- All Heart NZ Foundation
- Mt Roskill Primary School, Auckland
- Magic Signs
- Talakite Productions
- Tonga Youth Leaders
- Spare Parts Zone Ltd
- Tonga Airport Ltd
- CC Plumbing Solutions & General Work
- Tony Bouldier, A2B Consulting, New Zealand
To everyone who was involved in making this event a success and achievable.
Malo 'aupito for your kind support and we look forward to meeting with you again soon.