Meet the man behind the ‘Google of Guyana’

Triston Thompson is a co-founder of Intellect Storm, now a medium scale, dedicated ICT enterprise which specializes in providing IT services and marketing solutions. When Triston and his cousin first decided in 2014 to turn their considerable ICT knowledge into a tech-based company, they knew it was going to be an uphill battle. “It is not something that is (very prevalent) in Guyana,” the 20-year-old explained. “(Local) Businesses are still stuck in the old ways of doing things”.

And so Intellect Storm was born. Through this company, he could stay focused on showing the local youths in particular how the internet can be maximized as a tool to solve even mundane problems, engage customers and build strong business relationships.

Thompson’s greatest wish was, and still is to put all that he has on the gargantuan task of bringing his country into the 21st Century. He had studied Computer Science at the University of Guyana and graduated at the top of his Class.
Thompson jokingly refers to one of his company’s many national products as the “Google of Guyana”. This mobile app, properly named Directory.gy, is a source, a resource that touches on “everything Guyana” from current news and upcoming events to listings of and directions to retail and service businesses such as restaurants and hospitals. Directory.gy was even recognized by the Guyana Government during the nation’s Golden Jubilee (2016) as the official online
Directory for the thousands of overseas visitors. Later, Directory.gy took first place at the PitchIT Caribbean Challenge for Early-Stage Entrepreneurs and App Developers in CARICOM.

PitchIt is a Caribbean Mobile Innovation entrepreneurship program that is executed by a University of the West Indies.

Connecting in every way

One of Triston’s early challenges was finding a way to sensitize the public about the existence of his company, i.e. marketing this new venture that was unheard of. At the time it just was difficult in Guyana to go into the entrepreneurial ecosystem to sell a start-up ICT enterprise. “You have to expand your network and get people to know you and what you can do,” he stated.

Participating in a Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI) pilot project helped him to do just that. Thompson received valuable feedback on his ideas, and encouragement too. Since then, he has expanded his professional network and collaborated with other YLAI Fellows on several other IT applications.

He has become quite optimistic that sooner than later, it will be the norm for citizens to turn to Information Technology to resolve problems and issues at every stage of life, at the community and the national levels. To date, Intellect Storm is a constant presence at every IT-related event – exhibition or competition, in country and out. ICT is fast becoming ubiquitous in Guyana and Intellect Storm could easily take some credit for starting this revolution.

So, what’s next on Triston’s agenda … more connections, more competitions and strengthened relations with entrepreneurs in both the productive and service sides of business in Guyana, in the Caribbean and farther afield. “Even the Government is a good connection to cultivate …,” he said, as much as they are making strides of their own to create a modern, ICT-reliant Government structure by the year 2020”.

Other worthwhile connections made with like-minded entrepreneurs had helped Thompson to remain positive and focused, especially during the first year when funding was a big issue. “Being part of a community of Entrepreneurs really helps you to realize that you’re not alone, that your problems are not unique,” he stated. It’s one of the reasons why he was able to persevere and overcome, to start-up and eventually gain acclaim.

And his advice to other entrepreneurs remains: “Surround yourself with ‘positive’ people who will build you up, not tear you down”.

Article adapted from: https://ylai.state.gov/meet-man-behind-google-guyana-20170713/