“Look! I am creating new heavens and a new earth, and no one will even think about the old ones anymore” – Isaiah 65:17

Maria Robinson, www.thinkexist.com, has been quoted: “No one can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending”.  The message here is that we must adapt to change whether we can understand it or describe it or not. Change is with us, embrace it and adapt accordingly!

My Dubai based son, Kevin,  regularly sends me clippings on the airline industry. The latest clipping that I received states: “Read the newspaper headlines and it is clear that the aviation industry is growing worldwide and in leaps and bounds in the Middle East.
The demand for air travel is increasing and fleets are expanding rapidly. However, there simply are not enough skilled people to design, build, maintain and fly these aircraft”.  We cannot fight it but we can adapt to change and train more people based on the specific manpower needs. Otherwise, this results in poaching and bidding wars.
The clip continued: “From next year over a five year period the Emirates Group alone will need 80,000 people to meet its needs…That is double our current size of 40,000. In the history of Emirates, every three to five years we double in size”. That is change and it calls for sophisticated educational planning to satisfy the demand.

The world is going through economic changes driven by technological revolutions. As a result many industries are in their sunset phase and have to be replaced by sunrise industries.   Here again we must adapt to change: our response has to be through mind-set change, skill-set change and cross cultural communication as we accept the challenge to pursue the opportunities that abound. The planet is experiencing climate change with disastrous effects.  Here the damage has already been done and we must adopt a damage control strategy.

I have just returned from the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, where I was part of a forum on the sustainable development of existing and new small and medium sized enterprises. The existing system has not produced the results desired and there was much discussion on how best to restructure existing public sector organisations, utilise available funding and garner new funding towards this cause. This will require change: policy change by government, a change in governance structure, a smart partnership with the private sector and other social partners, innovative change in the financial systems – it calls for a new dispensation to the extent that no one will even think about the old one anymore.

On my way back home, I spent the weekend in Miami and had several meetings with special interest groups all of which were interested in innovative solutions leading to the sustainable growth of the Caribbean. We talked about ways in which a smart partnership could be formed between the private sector, local investment and foreign direct investment, in concert with Barbados Government policy to reduce our dependency on fossil fuel sources to meet our electrical energy needs by generating “solaricity” to be fed into the local grid. This concept can be repeated throughout the Caribbean. We talked about new technology for solar thermal and solar electricity applications. All of these groups had links to or were interested in doing business in the Caribbean.

In order to qualify to be part of the Bimventures family an entrepreneur has to demonstrate that his product/service has the “DNA of an Elephant”.  If the business is Information and Communications Technology (ICT) focussed, the service will reach the consumer via the Internet giving the entrepreneur instant access to the global market. If the business is not ICT focussed then the product will have to suffer the indignity of pursing well tried and traditional distribution channels. Some of my attention was therefore focused on establishing a relationship with an international partner who would facilitate the manufacturing of the product of one of the enterprises in the Bimventures family as well as, independently, look at the prospects of a distributor(s) which would ultimately penetrate the 330 million person North American market.

Last week we had a visit from the Miles Ahead ministries from San Diego, California led by author and evangelist Miles McPherson www.milesahead.com.  They lead “Do Something” festivals in the Caribbean. They have had successful missions in Jamaica and Cayman islands where hundreds of volunteers (with a range of professional skills) were mobilised from San Diego and partnered with local volunteers to work on a major project to help the local community. Next stops – St. Lucia and Barbados.  The partnership on this occasion is between the Church, the Government, the Private Sector and Civil society. As Pastor McPherson said the business model is divinely inspired and has worked each time.

To quote from a Brian Griffith – Jewel for Today:  “History repeats itself over and over again unless we reinvent it imaginatively and sculpt it with bigger, better, and grander ideas – Mark Victor Hansen”.

A moment’s thought for Dame Olga Lopes-Seale (Auntie Olga) who passed away last week at age 93. All those who had the opportunity to have been associated with her in any way, would not have escaped from the influence of her selfless contribution to her adopted country. Sincerest sympathy to her relatives and friends – May she Rest in Peace !