“If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth” – Colossians 3:1-2
Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance, Senator Darcy Boyce, said last Thursday night that the Barbados Government has introduced measures to kick-start the economy and insisted that the Barbados economy is on the right track with prospects for two to three per cent growth by the next fiscal year beginning April 2011.
Further, he said that the administration’s medium-term strategy has kept the economy stable in the middle of the worst recession seen in recent times which allowed investors to remain confident. He added that these strategies will certainly not have immediate effect but should be regarded as a sound foundation on which to build. He concluded that more money would have to be spent but within the context of what is available.
It is important, in any sovereign country, to get the governance right. In a country such as Barbados, I believe that the roles of Government, the Private sector and the Trade Unions must be complementary in order to serve the country well. Barbados set up a Social Compact in 1992, among these social partners, which advises the Barbados Cabinet on issues of national interest.
There should be a clear delineation of the roles of these primary social partners in support of optimal advancement of the Barbados economy and these, in my opinion, should be stated as follows: (1) the role of Government is to provide regulatory and service functions towards a user friendly enabling environment; (2) the role of the Private sector is to do business (advance entrepreneurship) in an efficient and competitive manner towards the end of achieving sustainable profitability, employment and net foreign exchange gains; and (3) the role of the trade union is to give advice as to how to induce employer/employee harmony in the interest of enhancing productivity for fair compensation.
Senator Boyce delineated Government’s position which is consistent with its role as I have suggested. In the context of Barbados and in my opinion, Trade Unions need to transition from their traditional strategies, more suited for the forties and fifties, and shift their emphasis to “enhancing productivity for fair compensation”, without compromising their main objective of enhanced socio-economic well-being for their members.
The role of the private sector, the engine of growth, is to convert entrepreneurial visions into action for existing and new enterprises. Even though we pay lip service to this, there is much room for improvement in successfully converting these visions into sustainable action. Economic growth can only take place one successful enterprise after another. Therefore, why not focus on the enterprise. Enter the Entrepreneurship Team, the E-Team!
The E-Team consists of ten volunteers and is chaired by Peter Boos and hosted logistically and administratively by Damian McKinney of McKinney Rogers, a global business execution consultancy which has its global business headquarters in Barbados. The other Barbadian resident members are: Dr. Jeannine Comma; Keith Miller; Dr. Basil Springer; and Rick Switzer. The non-resident members are: Derek Brown and Alex Pratt (UK); and Bryan Pearce and Pippa Pomeroy (US).
The E-Team’s premise is that, in the same way President John F. Kennedy had a Vision in 1961 to “Land a man on the moon and return safely to the Earth by the end of the decade”, we can have a Vision for Barbados to be “the #1 Entrepreneurial Hub in the World by 2020” (the E-team’s Moon), with its attendant positive benefits for significant economic growth in Barbados by 2020.
Last Friday, five representatives of the E-Team presented its project to a scheduled meeting of the Social Compact with a view to garnering buy-in from the social partners. The E-team’s primary activity will be to launch a unique annual entrepreneurs’ Competition and Conference where we would be recognising the categories “Entrepreneur of the Year”, “Finance Availability”, “Business Facilitation”, “Talent Pool” and “Mentorship Network”, not unlike the Oscars awarded annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for achievement in movies, in several categories.
There are three stages before landing on the E-team’s Moon. The first stage (Nov 16-17, 2010) will be a special feature focusing on Barbados. The second stage (Nov 2013) will focus on international attendance. The third stage (Nov 2016) will be a greater focus on international attendance and in 2020 – the Moon.
The presentation was well received with an immediate invitation from the Social Compact to share the concept with a wider cross section of the membership of the social partners. It was noted that there are over 11,000 entrepreneurs in Barbados which currently support the economy of Barbados and that future growth of the Barbados economy will be obtained by enhancing these enterprises as well as nurturing start-ups with global market potential. Bimventures was recognised as one such initiative which could be a stimulus for enterprise growth in Barbados and beyond. Let us focus on right sizing businesses in the public and private sector and encouraging the concept of “entrepreneurship not jobs” as a means of income security.
So if we are serious about securing the future for our children and grandchildren, do not shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up to the Entrepreneurial Moon and let it shine upon you.