“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” – Revelation 21:4 

Another Christmas Day has passed as many of us have celebrated the reason for the season.  We have given thanks for that with which we have been blessed over the past year and we have asked for blessings as we embark on our endeavours in 2010.  We celebrate the present and hopefully have learned from the past. We turn over a new leaf, a clean slate, and charge into the future fortified by the promise that all tears shall be wiped away and we shall see clearly now.

The routine was observed as usual – early Church service –global family greetings using the latest in telecommunications technology – exotic breakfast – then a rest, a “reverse siesta”, in the comfort of one’s bed in preparation for a continuous diet of afternoon lunch and evening cocktails with the extended families.

During this mid-morning rest, the radio in the background was tuned to BBC FM 92.1, a 24 hour radio service which keeps one in touch with international affairs and serves up many a high quality diet of educational and entertainment offerings. Towards the end of my slumber, my subconscious tuned into a programme which may have been entitled, “Prospects for 2010 from a Christian perspective”. There was a smooth transition to my conscious mind in time to register the closing remarks which promoted the philosophy of “Hopeful Realism” in the context of dynamic wealth creation activity with responsibility to look after the less fortunate in society.

I paraphrased this to mean that we must spend our energies on strategies for economic growth.  In this quest for growth the rich (custodians of investment capital) will get richer.  We must, however, employ a model that espouses the principle that as the rich get richer, the poorer or disadvantaged must get “richer” too.  No longer must our strategies be so shortsighted that as “the rich get richer, the poor get poorer”.

At a lunch party a week ago, an interesting question was posed to me.  “There has been a lot of talk recently about entrepreneurship and enterprise development as a catalyst towards sustainable economic growth. Are there really that many entrepreneurs out there to make a difference?”

Well “who tell him to ask me that?”  I expounded on cue.   First of all, I stated that economic growth could not take place without sustainable economic development and that enterprise development, one successful enterprise after another, was necessary for sustainable economic development.  I concluded that our focus must therefore be on enterprise development, the driver of the system.

The following Internet inspired definition is instructive: “An enterprise is any organized effort intended to return a profit by producing for sale a service or product within an economy. The entrepreneurial effort of starting up and the managerial effort of reaching for a higher level of excellence is enterprise development”.

There are two important issues here.  The one “entrepreneurial effort” is associated with the entrepreneur – the passion – the business idea – the business concept – the DNA of an elephant.  The other “managerial effort”is associated with business success – visioning – planning – organising – staffing – leading – monitoring/controlling. Together when expertly applied within the context of the pillars of a business – governance – marketing – operations – human resource development – finance, they lead to growth, productivity, profitability and sustainability.

The slogan of CBET, which promotes the CBET ShepherdingTM Model, is “A Caribbean Catalyst turning Concepts into Commercial Realities”. It is the inspiration from this CBET process which gives me the confidence to respond.

The experience has been that entrepreneurship in Barbados is alive and well. There has been a constant flow of “DNA of an elephant” ideas being presented to BBEC (www.bimventures.com).   This is without any overt advertising, mainly word of mouth. Our target for 2010 is an average of 4-5 new enterprises being presented for venture capital support in six week cohorts.

In the event that the natural flow of new concepts slows down, CBET has a mechanism which has been successfully utilised, over twenty times in the Caribbean since the turn of the century, to generate new DNA of an Elephant ideas in different economic sectors. It is the High Impact Growth Strategy (HIGS) workshop which is a two-day session held among 30 to 40 persons sitting at round-tables of 5-6 six people each.

At the end of the structured brainstorming process, a new well defined idea is presented at each table.  The idea at each table is owned by the participants at that table and is protected by CBET.  These ideas are usually without a natural entrepreneur with the passion to lead the business concept but an entrepreneur (perhaps without an idea) and a shepherd can be combined to convert that idea into a commercial business success.

The managerial effort is being provided by experienced Shepherds and specialist business advisors.  In the event that the supply of shepherds is exhausted locally, then we shall have to import shepherds.

I concluded that if one thinks that entrepreneurs are born not made please review The Global Entrepreneurship Program (www.msc-entrepreneurship.com) which prepares one to be a successful entrepreneur in a global context.