The Puerto Rico Information Technology Cluster will celebrate it 6th consecutive CIO & IT Leadership Conference May 17, when industry experts will study trends and challenges facing the region.
The event slated to take place at the Sheraton Hotel and Casino in San Juan, will feature keynote speeches and concurrent workshops from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., organizers said.
For the past few years, the summit has brought together CIOs from the private sector, as well as innovative leaders and IT companies, to develop and increase the industry’s role as a driver of economic development in Puerto Rico.
That said, the organizers decided to expand the analysis to take a deeper look into the tendencies and the challenges of the region, including the U.S. mainland, to be able to promote local business development opportunities; and continue transforming Puerto Rico into a national and global leader in technology services, said Co-chair of the PRITC’s board Antonio Sosa-Pascual.
Sosa-Pascual added that the sector’s sustainability is achieved by increasing the effort currently being made by local companies through federal contracting to export their services, as well as in innovation and specialization by industries, and in the expansion of the market through more gender diversity.
“Although this industry is led mostly by men, every year we see more and more women take the reins in important companies, not only of IT, but of economic development and security,” he said.
“An example of this is one of our main speakers, Soraya Correa, chief procurement officer of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, who will be speaking at the event about the role of her position in promoting technology and innovation,” Sosa-Pascual said.
“With her will be Glorimar Ripoll who is the government of Puerto Rico’s chief innovation officer, among others. It is this diversity that we need as an industry to continue expanding in all areas, and during our event we will offer a workshop addressed to women about the role of women in technology,” said Sosa-Pascual.
He, along with Joey Huyke — a member of the PRITC board — said more resources need to be developed in Puerto Rico’s education systems to generate more ideas that translate into intellectual property, and promote the export of these ideas and services.
“If these goals are achieved, we can turn this sector into one of the pillars of economic development,” Sosa-Pascual said.
Another driver that has strengthened the IT industry is the aid provided through Acts 20 and 22, which have created an unprecedented business dynamism in sectors such as IT, he said.
“With these laws we have been able to grow the industry, create new, well-paying jobs, and retain young talent on the island. In addition, we have increased growth and more local companies have been encouraged to export,” he said
By lowering the tax rate to 4% from 10%, Act 20 “allows us to compete in better quality conditions with large centers such as India. Puerto Rico can become the center of high-quality IT services at competitive costs, on American soil,” he said.
“In addition, Act 20 is a great tool to strengthen our sector with investment from companies outside Puerto Rico that seek these advantages to be more competitive. At the same time some of the participants of Act 22 invest in local startups and are collaborators of our sector’s innovation,” said Sosa-Pascual.
The event will also include the PRITC Innovation Awards ceremony to recognize the best local companies in computer technology.
For more information about the event and the industry’s advances, listen to the latest episode of Dollar$ and $ense, a News is my Business podcast.