“I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye” – Psalm 32:8
Last week we introduced the combination of spiritual awareness and logical reasoning in the context of relative right- and left-brain strengths; this week we shall seamlessly review the power of the above text which indicates that, if we have created an environment of spiritual awareness and listen quietly to the guidance from God, therein will lie the solutions to our challenges. If we permit the noise of logical reasoning to dominate or let our egos impede the path of the communication, then this may frustrate the power that lies above. Taken to an extreme, as Dr. Deepak Chopra would say, if we pursue the discipline of meditation in a tranquil setting to the point where we slow down our thought process and explore the gap between two thoughts, therein lies a universe of infinite possibilities.
The challenges which face us today in the world of survival have to be diligently addressed if we are to escape the recessionary trend. What do we do? Indeed, if we are spiritually aware, we have the opportunity to observe the whisper of an entrepreneurship wave that is emerging and gaining momentum literally throughout the world. It is a collective recognition that the only approach towards sustainable economic growth, a linchpin in the recovery process, is through enterprise development, one successful enterprise after the other. In the Caribbean, we are no exception and, indeed, the call for entrepreneurship is gradually being heralded from every vantage point in the space around us.
A few days ago, the President of the Barbados Hotel & Tourist Association, Mr. Colin Jordan, made an appeal for entrepreneurship in the tourism and tourism linkage sectors; the University of the West Indies is fostering a Student Entrepreneurial Empowerment Development (SEED) programme; the University of the US Virgin Islands is establishing a Chair in Entrepreneurship from which will emanate training, enterprise development and investment opportunities; Richard Branson has established the Caribbean Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship in Jamaica, which will act as a hub for aspiring entrepreneurs.
On the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship website, Sir Richard is quoted as saying, “Entrepreneurs and small businesses, are the engines that power our economies, create jobs, fuel growth and, ultimately, transform communities.” I have been promoting a concept for many years, which I have called the Economic Gearing System™ which consists of, say, three different sized wheels: large, medium and small, in a specific gearing ratio where one revolution of the large wheel generates several revolutions of the medium sized wheel and, indeed, many more of the small wheel.
In the context of the tourism industry, say, the large wheel represents spending by long-stay and cruise visitors; the middle wheel represents the hotels and tourist attractions, say, and the smallest wheel of the three represents taxis, restaurants and farmers, say.
The faster the larger wheel turns, i.e. the greater the tourist spend, the more opportunities are created for entrepreneurs and small businesses represented by the second and third wheels. In other words, the big wheel creates markets for the middle wheel, and the middle wheel creates markets for the smallest wheel. Whereas the entrepreneurs and small businesses, in the smallest wheel part of the system, statistically represent many jobs and other macro-economic benefits, my observation is that they should not be regarded as the engines of growth because, if the big wheel stops turning, i.e. the tourist spend decreases, then this frustrates the growth of the output from the middle and small wheels.
It is, therefore, more appropriate to say that the big wheel is the engine that powers our economies, i.e. tourism marketing, and the medium and small wheels play important roles of delivering goods and services in the integrated Economic Gearing System™.
The Barbados Entrepreneurship Foundation (BEF) has embarked on a goal for Barbados to be the number one entrepreneurial hub in the world by 2020. A manifestation of this is to double, say, the GDP per capita of Barbados in ten years. This can only be done through the sustainable success of many large, medium or small enterprises.
The BEF also recognises that, in order for enterprises to be successful, mentorship is important since this mitigates the risk of business failure. The BEF is about to embark on the launch of an Enterprise/Mentor Matching and Monitoring Information System which will allow enterprises to interrogate an on-line information system, directly or indirectly, in search of mentors who can close the gaps in the 25 cells in the Management of Business Matrix™.
The World Bank hopes soon to begin a seven year programme to support entrepreneurship and business incubation in the Caribbean. Trinidad & Tobago are now ramping up their Integrated Business Incubator System (IBIS). The Caribbean Institute of Certified Management Consultants, a source of mentors, is now witnessing sustained growth in its membership.
BIM Ventures is heartened to observe the plethora of initiatives in the region and have already started to establish smart partnerships with many of the above initiatives to promote the CBET Shepherding model™ in the interest of sustainable development in Barbados and beyond. We are confident that if we indulge in tranquil reflection, solutions will emerge.