“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men” – Colossians 3:23
“Experts spend a lot of time trying to find out what makes people successful. They often look at people’s credentials, intelligence, education and other factors. But more than anything else passion is what makes the difference…Passion is the first step to achievement…Passion increases your will power…Passion changes you…Passion makes the impossible possible – human beings are so made that whenever anything fires their soul, impossibilities vanish…A leader with great passion and few skills always outperforms a leader with great skills and no passion” – taken from John Maxwell’s “The 21 Indispensible Skills of a Leader”.
The slavery legacy in the Caribbean left us with descendents of the landowners’ class who inherited wealth and were in control of their own destiny and the descendents of the indentured servants and slaves who had to chart their own course.
All descendents were exposed, ultimately if not initially, to the positive colonial legacy which placed emphasis on formal education so as to obtain those credentials without which, it was drilled into you, one shall be doomed for life. Today we flow with the tide through a stream of examinations which will take us as far as we want to go or are capable of going – first degree, second degree and beyond with some branching along the way to pursue professional qualifications in a kaleidoscope of economic colour and opportunity.
Indeed, the words of the calypsonian the Might Sparrow “Children go to school and learn well, other wise later on in life you going to catch red hell” supports the theme “Education is a Must”. Sparrow went on to say “For there is simply no room in this whole wide world for an uneducated little boy or girl, do not allow idle companions to lead you astray, to earn tomorrow you got to learn today”.
Our parents supported Sparrow’s educational advice but, of course, one can be intelligent without the credentials especially if gifted with an intense dosage of common sense and an enduring measure of passion. Our history is there to tell the tale.
I had the pleasure of being associated with Lionel James over the last 42 years. May I share a little but special moment from the celebration of his life? His younger daughter, in paying tribute to her father, said that Daddy was very concerned that she had not settled into a job which matched her educational achievement but was most relieved when she found a window of opportunity which harmonised with her passion. He recognised that, above everything else, the finding of a home for that passion is paramount and the factor that will make the difference.
Our three children are fortunate to be following their passion, albeit only one of them is an entrepreneur. They are at various stages along the route to self-actualisation – it takes time.
Despite the many successful entrepreneurs throughout the world, it appears as though the world has recently awakened, probably because of the damage done by the impact of the most recent financial crisis, to the realty that sustained economic growth can only take place one successful enterprise after another. Each of these enterprises will be driven by successful entrepreneurs, all of whom are seeking to release their passion.
There does not seem to be a crisis in terms of finding entrepreneurs with passion. GramStep, a newly formed group with average age under-30 coordinated by Jeremy Stephen and Corey Graham 2.0, has sprung up out of “nowhere” – a smart partnership of youngsters with a passion for entrepreneurship and a desire to succeed. So enthusiastic is the team that some of them do not know what idea they want to pursue but they have a bundle of energy to be released in the appropriate direction.
Bimventures is currently shepherding ten “DNA of an Elephant” projects in its Venture Capital programme and has another 60 entrepreneurs with scalable ideas, who have expressed interest in joining our programme, in the wings waiting for Venture Capital resources to be assembled before inviting them to be considered to become members of the Bimventures family.
There are a number of other Government and non-Government organisations that cater to the needs of entrepreneurs.
Three weeks after the conclusion of the 2010 Barbados Entrepreneurial Foundation’s (BEF) Summit on Nov 17 2010, we had a get together and there were upward of 60 entrepreneurs who attended and many more who would have liked to have been there but there was a cap on the capacity. This will be a monthly networking event.
The BEF met on Saturday 18 to roll out their Action Plan which will culminate in the 2011 Summit & Gala as the next stop on the way to our goal in November 2020.
On the International Scene, last week I attended the anniversary celebrations of the Smart Partnership Movement in London – 25 years for the Network and 15 years for the Smart Partnership Dialogues. After three intense days of discussions with Smart Partners from Africa, Australia, Caribbean, Europe, India, Malaysia, Mediterranean, Middle East, and the United Kingdom, the celebrations concluded with a session among the under-29ers a group of youngsters with a nucleus in Uganda but which will be spawning an international network. This will ultimately drive entrepreneurship with passion, to facilitate trade around the world.