“For as he thinks in his heart, so is he” – Proverbs 23:7
Whatever one’s political persuasion or ideology, if one wants to ensure a high quality of socio-economic well-being in a given country it is wise to move forward in unison with the social partners towards this goal. If one does not pursue this path then sub-optimal solutions will obtain and the country will experience fluctuating fortunes and before one realises it the country will be in socio-economic decline.
Barbados is a small country where the people are its greatest asset. Remember Dr. E.F. Schumacher’s advice in his book “Small is Beautiful – Economics as if People really mattered”. A strategic economic development option for entrepreneurs in Barbados is “to wriggle your way between the legs of the global markets in search of niche markets which are compatible with our potential to supply”. In a social partnership, my view is that the private sector must “build businesses”; Government must “provide regulatory functions (policy through Cabinet and laws through Parliament) and service functions (the efficient use of tax revenue)” thus creating a user-friendly enabling environment; and the Trade Unions should “provide consultancy services” to induce employer/employee harmony towards greater productivity for fair compensation. All members of a smart social partnership will share the objective of achieving sustainable socio-economic well being (spiritual, social, cultural, environmental and economic) for the populace.
Sustainable economic development can only take place, one successful enterprise after another. At the core of the successful enterprise is entrepreneurship. The five pillars deemed critical to support sustainable entrepreneurship are Finance, Government Policy, Education and Skills, Mentorship/Networking and Business Facilitation.
Yet, no sooner than The Barbados Entrepreneurship Foundation’s inaugural Barbados National Entrepreneurship Summit had been launched, we experienced “noise” in the system both through the underground press and the traditional press which immediately focus on individuals and with little attempt made to address the issues of the day. The E-Team’s aim is to strive to amicably diffuse this “noise” to a level where it virtually disappears thus eliminating any resistance to the forward thrust. When Barbados wins we all win.
An example of this “noise” is expressed in the following quote “… a massive right wing, big business, elitist conspiracy is underway to ensure that the working class and lower middle class sectors of Barbados bear the brunt of the adjustment!”
This resulted in independent, spontaneous and unsolicited responses from two E-Team members as follows: (1) “We need to get across the truth that entrepreneurship does not support class divides…it breaks them down. My family were miners…it was enterprise and education that made me socially mobile…sadly, when things are tough it IS the working man who bears the brunt…which is why we need a strong economy…to PROTECT the working woman…not do her down”; and
(2) “I can certainly ditto the journey of upward social mobility from a very working class background …My father was a plumber (union member) who worked for other people his whole life and my mother was a cleaner who became a housekeeper and then a school meals worker. Good solid upbringing by my parents was backed up by education at a very ordinary primary school, followed by education at good state school and then university. I started my working life as a Trainee Manager at Marks & Spencer, switched to teaching in Barbados and became an entrepreneur from that platform. If I were honest – it was mainly because we could not afford to ‘live well’ on a teacher’s salary (even Headmaster by then) and we had two young children approaching their teenage years when we knew the bills would get bigger, we were driven by a need/desire to be able to afford a better standard of living … Sounds like Barbados!”
In Barbados, thanks to the post emancipation missionaries, a sound educational system was established. Today, each Barbadian has the opportunity to reach to the next rung on the economic ladder and pull himself or herself up. Not many emerging nations can boast of this asset, the progress of individuals in many other environments is still inhibited by illiteracy and poverty. Barbados, therefore, has an ideal environment in which to attempt to exemplify such a goal as being “The #1 Entrepreneurial Hub in the World by 2020”.
Our children are our future, teach them well and let them lead the way. Both of the above examples demonstrate upward social mobility in just one generation through education and entrepreneurship. This is what the E-Team is about; let us join hands and proceed on our eleven step journey to the ‘moon”. The first step is The Barbados National Entrepreneurship Summit on Nov 16/17 2010 which provides a platform for you to invest in your future. It will be a Summit with a difference.
The Maxwell Leadership Bible offers the following thoughts: “Leaders understand the importance of their minds to the future of their organisations. Your thoughts determine your character. Be careful of your thoughts; they may break into words any time. Don’t waste your thoughts on those who do not hunger for them. The first person you lead is you, and the first organ you master is your mind. Do not let your mind drift away from God’s truth and into vain envy. Stay confident that your vision will come to pass. Discipline your thoughts to remain steadfast in what you know is right.” The Barbados National Entrepreneurship Summit is resetting Barbados to do things very differently – via entrepreneurship.