“Comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing” – 1 Thessalonians 5:12

A new year, a new source of biblical quotes, this time from my autographed copy of the 2011 daily planner by Pastor A. R. Bernard who is the Founder, Senior Pastor and CEO of Christian Cultural Center in Brooklyn, New York, United States, delivered by Bevan a year ago. Yes, a year late as a year planner but still relevant as a source of God’s unfailing love and wisdom.

As I arose in the early hours of Saturday morning to write this column, as is my wont, I was greeted by Brian Griffith’s 12.13 am email message “Jewel for Today” by Mason Cooley: “Why not?” is a slogan for an interesting life.

This brings in focus the challenge espoused by the Barbados Entrepreneurship Foundation – “Barbados – The #1 Entrepreneurial Hub in the World by 2020”, Why not?” We need inventors to come up with business ideas. We need innovators to convert these ideas into products and services ready for the market. We need entrepreneurs to embark on the journey which turns these products and services into commercial reality. We mentors to guide the entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneurship is the act of being an entrepreneur which can be defined as “one who undertakes innovations, finance and business acumen in an effort to transform innovations into economic goods”. This may result in new organisations or may be part of revitalising mature organisations in response to a perceived opportunity. The most obvious form of entrepreneurship is that of starting new business in the form of a start-up company; however, in recent years, the term has been extended to include social and political forms of entrepreneurial activity.

According to Paul Reynolds, entrepreneurship scholar and creator of the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor “by the time they reach their retirement years, half of all working persons in the United States probably have a period of self-employment of one or more years; one in four may have engaged in self-employment for six or more years. Participating in a new business creation is a common activity among U.S. workers over the course of their careers.  In recent years this has been documented by scholars such as David Audretch to be a major contributor to economic growth in both the United States and Western Europe”.

My sister Helen has been on my case in 2011 to share with budding entrepreneurs some exciting prospects for the future based on my personal experiences in the field of businesses advisory services in many economic sectors over the last 40 years.

I eventually began to think about it not only in the context of 40 years experience but also from the perspective of the BIM Ventures pilot project driven by the CBET shepherding Model™ which I have had the honour to lead over the past three years in partnership with the Government of Barbados. We have concluded from this pilot project that: (1) there is no shortage of business ideas with the “DNA of an Elephant”; (2) shepherding the entrepreneur is a necessary condition for sustainable enterprise success; and (3) we must develop a funding resource base to offer innovative Seed and Venture Capital to fuel these fledgling enterprises.

We are all concerned about the impact of the recession on our socio-economic well being. The good news is that we can do something about it and I am sure that many of you all ready have numerous business ideas that you would like to pursue. I endorse that approach because the only way in which you can get sustainable economic development, and battle the challenges of a recession, is to focus on the expansion of existing successful enterprises and develop one start-up or emerging business enterprise after another. Entrepreneurship – Why Not?

One colleague said to me recently: “I have a talent and I would like to make a sustainable living out of this talent. I have started a business but I realise that I have no formal knowledge about what it is involved in managing a business. Furthermore, I have no systematic understanding of what the functions of the business really are and I find myself reaching out in the dark.”

I therefore decided to mount an introductory workshop, a one-day interactive dialogue session, entitled “The Management of a Business” which goes to the heart of the matter. Participants are formally introduced to the five elements of Management and the five functions of a Business.   Management comprises the following five elements: planning, organising, staffing, leading and monitoring/controlling. The five functions of a business may be classified as follows: corporate governance, marketing, operations (technical, administrative, accounting, ICT), people and access to financial capital.

When one combines the five primary elements of management with the five primary business functions there are 25 cells in the “Management of Business” matrix. In this generic model, if any one of these cells presents a challenge for which there is no solution, then the enterprise is at risk of business failure. Shepherding mitigates the risk of failure.

In the introductory workshop, participants will share their challenges in each of the 25 cells of the matrix in the morning session. In the afternoon, participants will address solutions to the challenges with my guidance and after the workshop each participant will be sent electronically a dossier “Guidelines to the Management of a Business”.

This interactive dialogue workshop will be held on Thursday 26 January from 9.00am to 4.30pm. Register now at sprinsib@sunbeach.net or call Helen on 250 9781.