“But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablise, strengthen, settle you. To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” – 1 Peter 5:10-11
I have been involved in the Smart Partnership Dialogue for Development and Transformation since 1995, when the Commonwealth Partnership for Technology Management (CPTM) was established. CPTM has just published its 2009 version of “The CPTM Way”. CPTM has a vision to become a leading agent of change in harnessing technology for growth and wealth creation in the commonwealth and beyond – www.cptm.org.
The CPTM Way has evolved through a dynamic brainstorming network, which now takes place at least twice per year, and attracts Commonwealth Governments, the Private Sector and Professionals, Labour, Media and Academia who are dedicated to promoting Technology Management as part of the overall process of Economic Development and Wealth Creation.
The larger version event (400-500 participants) is usually held in August by the host country in Malaysia, Africa or the Caribbean, and the smaller version, held around the AGM in December, is a more focused Think Tanking event (50-60 participants). They both provide the opportunity to dialogue on a wide range of issues led by globally renowned experienced professionals. The majority of the participants hail from Africa with a sprinkling of others coming from Europe, North America, Malaysia, the Mediterranean, India and the Caribbean. The African countries, in particular, usually take advantage of these opportunities at the highest levels of government and the private sector to benefit from the brainstorming and networking experience with a view to adopting some of the recommendations in their own countries. Caribbean leaders have been conspicuous by their absence, even though in my opinion, they could benefit from the rich dialogue which takes place, and implement some of the solutions to which they would be exposed.
I have just returned from the 2009 December session at the CPTM Hub in London where we discussed a number of topics and made proposals for the consolidation of The CPTM Way as a preferred form of governance to achieve sustainable transformation in the countries of the world. I had the opportunity to give a progress report on the CBET Shepherding ModelTM, which has been inspired over the years by the Smart Partnership philosophy. It has been a long, hard struggle for both these initiatives but if we keep a cool head, stay alert, keep our guards up and keep a firm grip on faith; the suffering won’t last forever.
The response to my presentation was, to say the least, reassuring as a way to effect economic transformation in emerging nations of the world. An experienced UK Venture Capitalist thought that the global market focus, the shepherding and the twin fund concepts were valuable contributions to the traditional Venture Capital process where the high risk nature of start-up ventures is not so carefully addressed.
One participant wanted to know whence the source of funds to pay the shepherd. I delineated the creative way in which the shepherd is paid: (1) the seed capital company advances funds to the entrepreneur to pay the shepherd to prepare the business plan; (2) the enterprise buys the business plan at a profit from the management of the seed capital fund with investment funds, if necessary, from the Venture Capital Fund; (3) the enterprise follows the business plan and grows the business by selling the product or service to the consumer; (4) as the business grows the VC capital fund sells its shares to the enterprise and handsomely replenishes its capital; (5) the Venture Capital Fund is liquidated at the end of the agreed period and the investors obtain their return on investment. The answer to the question therefore is that, in reality, the consumer pays the shepherd.
The participants noted that the concept of an economic gearing system consisting of three wheels (medium, small and micro) was a creative way of addressing how traditional Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) may contribute to a country’s economy. The first wheel (largest) provides markets for the second wheel and the second wheel provides markets for the third wheel (smallest). Hence the need to drive the system by ensuring that momentum is sustained at the largest wheel and that the smaller wheels are commensurately equipped to guarantee the harmony of the integrated system.
It was recommended that even though the focus of the model is on the generation of the business for the largest wheel, some immediate attention to adapting the model to support the sustainability of the smaller wheels, in particular, a cost effective way to engage shepherds, should be considered.
It was also noted that the model could be adapted to address the needs of social enterprises which are an important part of socio-economic well being, but the commercial element is not part of the design. Finally it was suggested that the model be adapted to address the needs of government projects.
The Smart Partners networking activities at the hub ended on Saturday with reflections on the Zambia (2008) and Uganda (2009) events and projections towards Malaysia (2010). The Caribbean is now on the CPTM radar for 2011 and I would certainly encourage Caribbean Governments and the Private Sector to consider hosting such an event and benefit from the CPTM Way .