Cayman Enterprise City signs on as a founding partner of Digital Cayman. From left, Chris Wall, Digital Cayman executive board member and owner of Walzzy Creative SEZC; Charlie Kirkconnell, CEO of Cayman Enterprise City; and Polly Pickering, Digital Cayman steering committee board member, and managing irfector of eShore Ltd.

Cayman Enterprise City has made a five-year $250,000 founding sponsorship commitment to the Digital Cayman not-for-profit initiative.

Digital Cayman was first announced at the Cayman Islands Digital Economy Conference on 20 June 2019, following a meeting with government representatives and industry professionals held during CYDEC 2018. The initiative emerged due to a growing demand by the Cayman Islands digital sector for a professional body to represent digital industries and support the Cayman Islands government with relevant policy and legislative development.

“Our five-year commitment and sponsorship of the Digital Cayman initiative has enabled its recent launch and will ensure the initiative’s longevity,” said CEC chief executive officer and Digital Cayman executive board member, Charlie Kirkconnell, in a press release. “The CEC mission is to help diversify Cayman’s economy and develop a business community where innovation thrives, so supporting Digital Cayman aligns seamlessly with our goals. We’re excited to help drive this project forward and to further positively impact the Cayman Islands community.”

The industry body was initially conceived by Paul Byles, Digital Cayman executive board member, founder of CYDEC, and director at FTS. It is now facilitated by a steering committee of 15 technology professionals and industry leaders.

“We’re on a mission to strengthen Cayman’s digital sector by advocating for positive policy changes that will encourage the growth of the digital sector while adhering to appropriate standards for risk and reputational management purposes,” said Byles in the release.

Digital Cayman’s mission is to be the voice of the digital sector and to cultivate Cayman’s digital ecosystem.

Since its launch, and together with CEC’s Cayman Tech City, the initiative has so far hosted seven public ‘Tech Talks’ events at which more than 225 industry professionals discussed technology trends.

Topics included Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency, building tech ecosystems, IT security systems, product development cycles, smart contracts, data protection and, most recently, sector advocacy.

Digital Cayman plans officially to welcome members into the association later this year.

Chris Wall, Digital Cayman executive board member; owner of Walzzy Creative SEZC; and co-founder of Grappzie, a UK-based digital-first greeting card and invitation platform, explained that to achieve the goals set out by the initiative, the organisation will engage and work with government and regulators in Cayman and across the world to ensure Cayman is not left behind.

“The digital sector is moving at an absolute rapid pace,” he said during a recent Radio Cayman interview. “There’s no reason for the Cayman Islands to lag behind. Through Cayman’s growing tech community and through the Digital Cayman initiative, we can be at the absolute forefront of innovation, digital development, and ultimately positive progress.”

To date, CEC has contributed US$39,000 in capital for financial support and services to establish Digital Cayman, which covered legal expenses, brand development and design, and marketing services for its launch.

CEC’s sponsorship of Digital Cayman includes US$50,000 annually over a five-year period. Digital Cayman will also have the opportunity to participate in the CEC Enterprise Cayman outreach initiatives, which include internships and school programmes, and will enable the non-profit organisation to provide industry knowledge and expertise directly to Cayman’s youth, up-and-coming digital professionals, and entrepreneurs.

“The attributes that have made the Cayman Islands so enticing to the financial services sector have also attracted some of the world’s top technology entrepreneurs and leading fintech, media, and blockchain businesses to set up a genuine physical presence in the jurisdiction,” Kirkconnell said. “While CEC is now home to a vibrant community of over 250 global special economic zone companies, 170 of which operate from within Cayman Tech City, Digital Cayman membership is not restricted to the special economic zones; it is open to everyone working in the digital sector who is interested in helping to develop a dynamic technology ecosystem in the Cayman Islands.