“Jesus said – I know. I saw Satan fall, a bolt of lightning out of the sky. See what I’ve given you? Safe passage as you walk on snakes and scorpions, and protection from every assault of the Enemy. No one can put a hand on you. All the same, the great triumph is not in your authority over evil, but in God’s authority over you and presence with you. Not what you do for God but what God does for you—that’s the agenda for rejoicing” – Luke 10:19
While surfing the Net last week I came across an article including a photo of Ho Wing Man running a marathon with an image of commitment and determination on her face. The photo was by Celine Ho Yam of Tong College in Hong Kong. The caption was “No one should stop! – No matter what the future will be, everyone should face it positively…This should be our life’s motto”. In 1986, my management consulting practice led me to Boston Massachusetts in search of knowledge on how Venture Capital worked. There were many global examples as to how venture capital transformed entrepreneurs with business ideas into commercial realties and I thought that that was exactly what was needed for the Caribbean to stimulate economic growth. I came back to Barbados all excited and tried to engender some interest in the concept. I met with much interest but only moderate response. The then Governor of the Central Bank proposed that the level of commercial bank reserves at the Central Bank be reduced and the resulting savings be channelled to capitalise a venture capital fund for emerging entrepreneurs. The commercial banks apparently did not respond positively to the idea and so the matter was not taken any further. The CEO of a large local group of companies liked the idea but preferred to pursue a strategy of Intrepreneurship where the venture capital concept was developed with his company. The result was that no venture capital fund was established nationally for emerging businesses, at that time, and hence there was no corresponding thrust in sustained new enterprise development. Consequently the rate of economic growth was stymied. It is useful to note here that the rate of economic growth is a function of the rate of growth of traditional and emerging enterprises. Whereas traditional enterprises will tend to maintain the current rate of growth, an increase in the rate of growth will depend on the rate at which emerging enterprises are conceived and pursued. The traditional practice of commercial banks, where most of the country’s financial investment resources lie, is to promote the loan instrument. Coupled with this is the requirement for collateral to secure the loan, the immediate payment (in most cases) of an amortised payment of principal and interest. The traditional businesses may have the collateral to offer to the banks and may be financially strong enough to service the loan for the expansion of the traditional business lines or for the development of new lines of business. However, the emerging enterprises, often with excellent business ideas, are often not in a position to provide hard collateral to borrow from the commercial banks and their initial cash flows will often not be strong enough to comfortably service the amortised payment, which accompanies the approval of a loan, and to provide a financial buffer for any unexpected changes in the external business environment. The venture capital concept was thriving in many centres throughout the world including Boston and Silicon Valley in the United States and in many areas elsewhere including the Asian tigers in South-East Asia which had experienced phenomenal rates of growth for the emerging business sector. This scenario led to my interest in promoting the venture capital concept in the Caribbean, Indeed, Michael E. Gerber in his book “The E-Myth Revisited – Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It” states that, for many people, the phenomenal impact on economic development by the sequence of Revolutions (Agricultural, Industrial, Technological, Information and Turn-Key) is very familiar in today’s world. However, he points out that “If asked to describe the Turn-Key Revolution, most people would simply respond with a blank stare”. He continued: “At the heart of the Turn-Key revolution is a way of doing business that has the power to dramatically transform any small business – indeed, any business, no matter what its size –from a condition of chaos and disease to a condition of order, excitement, and continuous growth. It is the Turn-Key Revolution that provides us with the elusive key to the development of an extra-ordinary business: the ultimately balanced model of a business that works”. He then introduced the Franchise Phenomenon and stated that McDonalds, an output of the Turn-Key revolution, calls itself “The Most Successful Small Business in the World”. McDonald’s started as a trickle 40 years ago and has now become a more than USD 40 billion business. I did not give up and today I rejoice in reporting that the CBET Shepherding Model™; and the Twin Fund Quick Response Revolving Seed Capital Fund and the Quick Response Venture Capital Fund are being implemented, as a private sector led initiative, in partnership with the Barbados government, as a way of stimulating emerging enterprise development, in general, and the Turn-Key revolution in particular. The model is appropriate as a development tool, at least, for any emerging nation in the world.