Around 180 digital industry leaders from 15 different countries gathered in tunnels underneath Grands Vaux as part of a three-day conference to bring innovation to Jersey.
Economic Development Minister Alan Maclean – who was challenged by the host, Israeli technology guru Yossi Vardi to remove his tie as the first symbolic step towards a more innovative business culture in the Island – welcomed the crowd of mainly young people from around the world.
“We hope that you will be rubbing shoulders with local industry, and giving us some insight on how we can turn Jersey into a digital centre of excellence, which we believe it can be,” he said.
“We have got money in the bank, we are a low tax jurisdiction and we are very keen to diversify our economy.”
The invitation-only crowd included business leaders from the Island, as well as digital innovators from Israel, the US and Europe. The reception – held in old German tunnels that are usually sealed off from the public - is part of a three-day event arranged by the States inward investment agency Locate Jersey.
The Island Innovators (un)Conference includes over 50 discussion sessions, gadget shows, music and digital art.
Mr Vardi told last night’s crowd: “In the next three days we should see what kind of observations you can give us on how to create a digital hub in this place.”
And he added that Jersey was not a complete stranger to innovative thinking, saying that 50 years ago the Island economy had gone from being essentially agricultural, and turned into one of the major financial hubs in the world.
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