“And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them” – Acts 16:10

Colonel John “Hannibal” Smith is a fictional character in the 1980s action/adventure television seriesThe A-Team”.   His favourite catch phrase is, “I love it when a plan comes together”.

The E-Team, now cocooned in its protective legal case “The Barbados Entrepreneurship Foundation Inc. (BEF)” is all ready to take its first of 10 annual steps towards its 2020 vision.  On November 16th and 17th, 2010 the Vision and Plan will be unveiled at the first ever Barbados National Entrepreneurship Summit. The summit will be hosted under the sponsorship of the BEF which is designated as an Exempt Charity.  Take a look at our website which was launched last week www.barbadosentrepreneurshipfoundation.org.

The Summit will make a significant mark on the local business landscape. In this current economic environment dubbed “the Age of Austerity”, we need drivers of economic growth.  This will happen when there is “one successful enterprise after another”.  The Summit is set to be the catalyst for the proliferation of one of the most important players in economic growth and stimulation, the entrepreneur whose ideas are systematically converted into commercial realities. The 2010 Summit will boast of the most important and influential gathering of entrepreneurs and other major stakeholders.

The Foundation plans to accomplish its vision through partnerships with key stakeholders such as the Government, Civil Society, the Labour Movement, Educators, International Agencies and Governments and has received the full endorsement of both the Barbados government and the opposition for this transformational venture.

Endorsement has come from the highest levels of Barbadian business in the form of founding sponsorship from some of Barbados’ best known and most successful entrepreneurs, like Sir Kyffin Simpson and Ralph ‘Bizzy’ Williams. Major companies like The Nation Publishing Co. Limited and DIGICEL have given their endorsement. Strong support for the project has been received from agencies such as the US and Canadian Governments and the Barbados Private Sector Agency. Dialogue has begun with other key stakeholders including the Labour Movement, Educational Institutions and the Public Sector.

The Summit will be a reservoir of business strategy, partnership and networking opportunities for entrepreneurs of all levels, it will serve as a catapult for the metamorphosis of Barbados into an entrepreneurial state.  What the E-Team is doing for Barbados is charting a path for entrepreneurship.

The agenda has been built on the five pillars deemed critical for sustainable entrepreneurship: Finance, Government Policy, Education and Skills, Mentorship/Networking and Business Facilitation. It will showcase a series of speakers and interactive panels featuring prominent local and international figures in the entrepreneurial, investor and governmental community.  There will be an international speaker who will tell us about the global state of the art position within each pillar. There will be a local speaker who will tell us about the local position within each pillar. There will be gaps between the international standard and the local position for each pillar.

Through a series of interactive dialogue sessions, the participants will devise strategies to close the gaps for each pillar which will then allow us to evolve systematically to our 2020 vision over ten annual Summits.  As these strategies are reviewed, modified and implemented year after year we would expect to see a trend towards excellence and sustainability in the best interest of Barbados and beyond.  Whereas at the first Summit it is expected that mainly Barbadians will participate, with each succeeding Summit we expect to extend the invitation list to other Caribbean countries and indeed emerging countries through out the world.

The fledgling Bimventures (www.bimventures.com) concept currently being rolled out in Barbados espouses the use of the CBET Shepherding Model. This exercise has shown that there is no shortage of entrepreneurs with the “DNA of an Elephant” ideas capable of expansion throughout the global market place but that the factors that have limited business growth are management weaknesses and timely access to appropriate finance. Bimventures has addressed these business growth constraints by introducing shepherding, a quick response revolving Seed Capital Fund and a quick response Venture Capital Fund.

The recently concluded CMEx event in Kingston, Jamaica, the nineteenth in the series which started in 2001, again showed the value of networking at these events in terms of the number of potential joint projects that can emerge through the synergy of interaction between participants. Those of you who are students of combinatorial mathematics would appreciate that from a gathering of 100 participants (60 international and 40 local), as was the case in Kingston, there are close to 5000 possible combinations of pairs of participants. If only one percent of these pairs resulted in a potential idea leading to tourism linkage or other enterprises, then we would have a mechanism for the continuous supply of new ideas.  The annual National Summits are expected to give rise to a similar experience. If the Shepherding and Venture Capital is in place then our future seems secure.

The E-Team has a dream. The people called and beckoned for the E-Team to come over and help us. The dream gave the E-Team its map. All the pieces have now come together. We know now for sure that with divine guidance the E-Team can preach the good news of recovery to the people.  Please join us on Nov 16/17 2010.