“Riches and honour are with me, enduring wealth and prosperity” – Proverbs 8:18

The term ‘sustainable development’ was used by the Brundtland Commission which coined what has become the most often-quoted definition of sustainable development as development that “meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”.  Sustainable development is therefore multi-faceted and encompasses spiritual, environmental, economic, social and cultural concerns.

I venture to say that sustainable development is the goal to which all countries aspire and it is incumbent on us to strategically address these concerns by establishing specific objectives and engaging in timely implementation processes through dynamic strategies, plans and activities within the context of a systematic evolutionary approach.  This approach implies that whatever your planned activities, these must be reviewed continually to capture the impact of the change in environment with the passage of time.

Economists advise us that a recession is a business cycle contraction, a general slowdown in economic activity. Macroeconomic indicators such as GDP, employment, investment spending, capacity utilization, household income, business profits, and inflation fall; while bankruptcies and the unemployment rate rise.

They further advise that recessions generally occur when there is a widespread drop in spending, often following an adverse supply shock or the bursting of an economic bubble and that Governments usually respond to recessions by adopting expansionary macroeconomic policies, such as increasing money supply, increasing government spending and decreasing taxation. The recent recession has plunged most countries in the world into a debt crisis. The challenge is to restore the economy on a path of sustainable development.

Fiscal austerity has been bandied about endlessly as the only remedy for Europe’s debt crisis, a foul but necessary medicine, one that is hard to take but will eventually put the continent back on its feet. Governments facing a growing debt burden cut deficits by reducing spending, cutting down on public services and social benefits, reducing salaries, cutting jobs in the public sector, increasing the retirement age, increasing duties and taxes, or a mix of all of the above. Nonessential spending is cut ruthlessly in order to balance the books.

Enter France’s new president, François Hollande, heralding the good news.  According to the www.saudigazette.com.sa, “Austerity is no longer inevitable, it need not be Europe’s fate.  The opposite of austerity is growth. Where Hollande differs from German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, the austerity queen of Europe, is not in terms of accepting that books need to be balanced, but in how that balance can be achieved. Put in its simplest terms, if you have debts to pay, you have two choices: you can spend less or earn more. Hollande is part of the camp that says it is possible to stimulate growth through a package of economic measures. Merkel’s reply is that you cannot get into more debt in order to stimulate growth, restructuring is the answer.  Hollande has said that he intends to renegotiate the EU fiscal pact, a treaty designed to force member states to abide by strict budgetary rules. Angela Merkel has replied that it is not up for renegotiation. So will the Franco-German political axis break down?”

Back home at the ranch in the Caribbean, I maintain that small states and emerging nations should develop their sustainable development strategy by leveraging their small size comparative advantage and “wriggle their way through the legs of economic giants in search of niche markets compatible with their potential to supply”.

We must start from a spiritual perspective and recognise that we are spiritual beings enjoying a human experience and not human beings in search of spiritual blessings. As spiritual beings we open up our hearts to the rich blessings of prosperity “Riches and honour are with me, enduring wealth and prosperity”.  Like President François Hollande, we must pursue growth not austerity.  We must think positively, we must focus on enterprise development.

We can now reflect on the successful experience afforded us by the Barbados Government over the last three years to test the efficacy of the CBET Shepherding Model™ in the Barbados environment.  We have learned that there is no shortage of businesses ideas with the “DNA of an Elephant” which permits the growth of the economy in an export market very much bigger than the market footprint of Barbados itself. Even if that failed we have introduced a tool which develops new ideas in two days from a “blank sheet”.

We have developed the rules of operation for a benevolent seed/venture capital fund management company to facilitate the necessary start-up finance for the enterprise, with an agreed upon exit strategy, which allows the enterprise to own 100% of its own shares, as soon as its cash flows are strong enough to do so.

We have been exposed to possible models of capitalising a venture capital company in Barbados, the USVI and Trinidad & Tobago where foreign direct investors and private sector investors are given incentives by the host country to capitalise a venture fund either through grants or investment capital.

We have developed processes for attracting Deal Flow and for selecting appropriate enterprises to join the CBET Shepherding Model™ family. We have developed criteria for selecting Shepherds and Business advisors for the Shepherding process which mitigates the risk of business failure.

All this has been done with a keen appreciation of the impact on the physical environment (protect planet earth); job creation (the fuel of the economy); and cultural industries (know the business of your art) towards sustainable development.