“And the things that you have heard from me…, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” – 2 Timothy 2:2

In order to chart the way forward on the path of progress, where the next step lands (size and direction) should be determined by information garnered in the immediately preceding steps – the sequential evolutionary approach or evolutionary operation (at last an opportunity to ventilate my 42 year old PhD. Thesis – I mean the topic not the document).  The leader will be in the vanguard of this process.

According to J.C. Maxwell: “Leadership is like running head start for the team. Leaders see farther than their teammates. They see things more quickly than their teammates. They know what is going to happen and can anticipate it…, The power of leadership carries over in every field. The business run by a good leader often finds its market niche first and outperforms its rivals, even if the rivals possess greater talent.  The non-profit organisation headed by strong leaders recruits more people, equips them to lead, and serves a greater number of people as a result.”

“Barbados – the #1 Entrepreneurial Hub in the World by 2020” has been enunciated by the Barbados Entrepreneurial Foundation (BEF) as a goal!  Some say “it is an impossible dream!”  Some fully endorse the BEF’s vision!  Others say “I do not comprehend the concept, but it sounds so impressive that I am going to join hands with BEF anyway and be part of the positive Tsunami!”  This goal is a strategic vision for the year 2020, a position to wish we should all want Barbados (BIM) to aspire.  If we transition from the emotional to the realistic, what does this goal really mean?

There are several socio-economic indicators which may be associated with the realisation of this goal. By way of example, let us consider one such indicator the increase the GDP per capita from its current level (say, US$13,000 per capita) to, say, US $26,000 per capita in 2020 assuming the current population is 270,000 and the net population growth is zero, which is about where it has been for sometime.

If we assume that the GDP from existing businesses will trundle along at an annual average growth rate of 3%, the GDP per capita will increase by US$ 3,900 to take us to at least US$ 16,900 in 2020. In order to reach the 2020 target of US $26,000 per capita, the challenge will be to (1) innovatively ramp up the rate of growth of the existing businesses and (2) develop new businesses resulting in a collective capacity to contribute another US $9,100 GDP per capita in ten years – an additional increase in GDP of US$2.457 billion.  Let us assume that the existing businesses and the new businesses equally share this responsibility to increase the GDP per capita from US$ 16,900 to US $26,000.   The “new business” share will then be US $4,550.

Our experience at Bimventures has shown that on average a start-up enterprise with the “DNA of an Elephant” is conservatively estimated to contribute US$2.5 million in revenue to GDP over 5 years or US$5 in 10 years.  This computes to an order of magnitude of less than 250 start-up businesses which have to be nourished over a ten year period.  Traditionally, we have assumed that these start-up businesses would fail at the rate of 80-90% in the first 2-3 years.  However, with the advent of the CBET Shepherding Model, the assumption is that Shepherding mitigates the risk of failure and hence the number of failures is expected to be drastically reduced.

To adjust for a maximum failure rate (say, 20%) and noting that the advent of new businesses is phased over say the first five years of the ten year period, we may wish to target 300 new businesses gradually over in the first five years ensuring in each case that the failure rate is significantly reduced. The statistics will vary depending on the assumptions but whatever the statistics we would have defined the challenge that we have to face.  In any case, some baseline statistics are needed to give the leadership some parameters around which to establish a plan after which evolutionary operation “kicks in”.

In management science, the goal must be followed by realistic, measurable and time specific annual objectives which we must knock over one by one as we approach the goal.  There will be several objectives the collective achievement of which will support the goal which has been enunciated.

The BEF has started aggressively. BEF has already put a CEO and interim project manager in place and by next Saturday 18 Dec 2010, the integrated action plan should have been completed endorsed by the champions for each the support pillars: Government Policy; Business Facilitation; Access to Finance; Training; and Mentoring.  Then implementation will begin in earnest.

Each pillar will organise its own governance structure, set about addressing the needs of their stakeholders, delivering efficient services, building a team of volunteers (primarily) and partnering with the financial pillar and other pillars to secure sustainable success.  Would it not be a wonderful feature if BEF had a dashboard through which the progress of all BEF registered businesses was charted?

Last Wednesday, the BEF held its first post-Summit monthly networking forum.  There were over 60 enterprises represented all of whom were seeking guidance to make sure that their concepts were turned into commercial realities.