“They said, If you will be a servant to this people, be considerate of their needs and respond with compassion, work things out with them, they’ll end up doing anything for you” – 1 Kings 12:7

In October 1998, the Caribbean Development Bank, as part of its mandate to contribute to economic growth in its borrowing member countries, including Barbados, contracted me as Consultant (Services Exports) to facilitate the development of the emerging services exports industry.

The intention was to come up with an innovative mechanism to replace the fading “sunset” industries by emerging “sunrise” industries which would be the stimulus for an economic recovery and growth process. The output from that assignment in 2001 was The Caribbean Business Enterprise Initiative (CBEI) which was intended as a practical contribution to that development process. Its purpose: “To be a Caribbean Catalyst Turning Concepts into Commercial Realities” driven by a non-traditional thrust led by services exports.

In 2001, a highly practical institutional framework was proposed, The Caribbean Business Enterprise Trust Inc. (CBET), which defined the CBEI corporate structure.  This structure sought to remove potential conflicts while at the same time incorporating a high degree of flexibility so as to be responsive to needs as and when they develop during the process.

We are about to officially launch a member of the CBET family in Barbados, one year after its inception and eleven years into the evolution of CBET.  This Barbados initiative is designed as a private sector led smart partnership between CBET, the Government of Barbados and the private sector of Barbados.   We expect it to be the forerunner of several such CBET/sovereign country smart partnerships in the Caribbean and beyond.

The Barbados Government has demonstrated, by its support of this innovative smart partnership, that is a servant to this people; it is considerate of their needs; it responds with compassion; and works things out with them.  As this process becomes more and more successful, the government therefore has a reasonable expectation that the people will end up commensurately reciprocating to the Government.

I am blessed with rich experiences week after week. Either, I deliberately place my self in a path of new information in the hope that something might rub off along the way; or, I get engaged in interesting dialogue with total strangers – and the frequency of this type of contact seems to be increasing; or, I am in discussion with CBET Shepherding ModelTM clients, their shepherds and business advisors.  This past week was no exception.

Last Friday, I attended the public lecture by Mr. Phil Phillips, a highly experienced Marketing and Visioning Entrepreneur, at the DLP headquarters.  The topic was

“The Potential of the Cultural Industries for job creation in Barbados”.  He advised that the Cultural Industry’s  global worth is projected to be US$1.3 trillion with music set to contribute 10% of this and that Barbados should move to capture its share of the market.  He noted that New Media technology advancement has resulted in a shift from physical recordings to digital download, not only in music, but in film as well.

Phil proposed a number of solutions and the underlying theme was that government should create an enabling environment and the private sector must play its part.

In the discussion period, I was quick to point out the existence of the CBET Barbados initiative and invited talented entrepreneurs to partner with our CBET Shepherding ModelTM to match the creative talent with the shepherding process and the Quick Response Seed and Venture Capital Fund.  The CBET shepherding process mitigates the risk of failure. We shall consider proposals from all sectors but will be guided by the priority economic sectors for Invest Barbados which include: Business Development Services; Creative Industries (e.g. Film, Music and Fashion); Education; ICT; Health & Wellness; and Construction.

Earlier last week I met with a total stranger, a recent graduate from Florida International University. He was sent to me to discuss his innovative tourism project.  I learnt a lot in the short period we were together, not the least of which was that the younger generation live in a totally different world of new media Internet services (Facebook, Twitter) and peripherals (Pod, Optical and Digital devices), which has redefined the paradigm in which marketing is currently done.

As Joel Barker has said “When the paradigm shifts, everything goes back to zero!”

– we must start learning all over again.  The stranger, probably sensing a few conservative responses as I tried to understand his creative proposal, asked me if I had any teenage friends or relatives with whom I could interact to experience this New Media and Peripherals world. I took the point and referred him to two persons nearer his age with whom he could communicate more easily.

Fortunately for me, on a daily basis, I am constantly in contact with CBET Shepherding ModelTM clients, their shepherds and business advisors.  My vocabulary is gradually changing, my understanding of New Media is gradually improving, and I am gradually getting engrossed in the new way of doing business.

We must remember that economic growth is premised on the paradigm of one successful enterprise after another. The cultural industries including music, film, fashion, drama and the like can make a significant contribution to economic growth if we embrace the philosophy of a smart partnership between the talent, business and money. The CBET ShepherdingTM model facilitates this process.