“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith   For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.” –  Hebrews 12:1-3

When an individual goes through severe hardship, one can either cry for the rest of your life about things not working out as you would like it to, or pick up the pieces and with your colleagues, friends and family, be the best team ever!   In other words, you must adopt a positive mind-set. It requires a strategy not unfamiliar to successful sports teams which involves discipline, team work, sustained efforts, a high adversity quotient, never giving up and having endless fun!  When you’re down, you get right back up and move on even better than before.  Maturity, however, is a key ingredient of such a philosophy.

Think of all these pioneers who blazed the way before us and all these veterans cheering us on.  It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running  and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Focus on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed to that exhilarating finish in and with God, he put up with anything along the way: cross, shame, whatever. And now he is there, in the place of honour, right alongside God.  We can do it too. If perhaps you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he ploughed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!

The Bimventures family has indeed accepted a challenge to lay a new foundation upon which to build the future Caribbean economies.  It all began when I visited Singapore in 1993, based on their remarkable economic development strategy I was fired up to make a change in the Caribbean. Then in 1998 the Caribbean Development Bank invited me to be a consultant (service exports). The changing international environment, through its impact on traditional trading and business patterns in the Caribbean region, challenged policy makers and planners to examine traditional patterns of promoting business development and economic growth.

The Caribbean Business Enterprise Initiative (CBEI), a private sector led concept, emerged in response to this challenge and to contribute to economic growth in the Caribbean.  CBEI promotes integration among the macro, mini and micro-enterprise sectors and pays special attention to the earning of foreign exchange, the reduction of unemployment and poverty.  CBEI was protected, from a corporate perspective, by CBET.  Out of this evolved the CBET Shepherding ModelTM, owned by CBET. Then in 2008 CBET partnered with the Barbados Government and private sector and Bimventures, as we know it today, came into being.

The Governor of the Central Bank of Barbados, Dr. DeLisle Worrell, reported last week that we are doing as well as can be expected in the current economic downturn. The Governor also reminded us of the importance of foreign exchange to our survival and that the tourism industry was leading us in this regard. I believe that enterprise development can also contribute to the development of the economy.

The ten enterprises in the Bimventures family with which we have embarked in partnership on a journey to sustainable success, have associated with them entrepreneurs who are all from the ICT, holistic health or the creative industries (music, art, film, fashion) sectors. These entrepreneurs flocked to us in search of the shepherding and venture capital services which they understood were being offered in response to our invitation for business ideas in the areas of business development services; creative industries; education; ICT; renewable energy; health & wellness; and construction.  The profile of businesses in the pipeline, waiting to be considered for membership in the Bimventures family, is similar to the existing members but we do have expressions of interest as well in the area of agriculture.  All of these enterprises have the DNA of an elephant in the sense that they have the potential to save foreign exchange though import substitution or earn foreign exchange through exports on the global market.

Aggressive enterprise development could be the foundation for the new Caribbean economy – it is an important ingredient for survival – we can no longer depend on the traditional ways of doing things, we must diversify.  However, based on our experience to date, there are many challenges which have revealed themselves: (1) the development phase prior to first revenue realisation; (2) cross-cultural communication; (3) shortage of trained resources; (4) ethereal thought processes frustrating left brain business thrusts; (5) lack of appreciation of the philosophy “Start small; Do it right; Make it Happen; then Expand” by some entrepreneurs.

There are also positives coming out of the experience:  (1) application to work; (2) strong clear visions; (3) innovative products and services; (4) technology innovation; (5) self-confidence; and (6) product/service experience.

Last week I had the opportunity to visit the Limegrove facility at Holetown.  It is a very impressive lifestyle centre concept due to be open for business on December 15 2010.  Coincidentally, the Limegrove focus is on food, music, art, film and fashion and the possibility for partnership did not escape us.