“When the grass is gone, and new growth appears… there will be enough” – Proverbs 27:25, 27

In any country, sustainable economic development and growth must be driven by the productive sectors. Within each productive sector the growth is induced by one successful enterprise after another. This can only happen if we embrace change and are prepared to innovate i.e. we must make changes to the status quo by introducing new methods, models, ideas, products or services.

Our lives are as full of change as are the seasons. Memories hold joy and sorrow; success and disappointment. Yet the past may be regarded as the fertile ground from which new good innovative ideas arise. The past does not limit good but becomes the soil from which new experiences grow.

“If you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll keep getting what you’re getting” is a well-worn expression; it is to be interpreted “you can’t keep doing the same things and expect to get different results”. I want to discuss this in the context of sustainable economic development and growth.

In order to combat stagnant or retarded growth in any given sector, then you must become innovative and embrace change. One way to foster growth is to create an environment in which start-up enterprises can grow and my experience is that there is no shortage of new ideas which can be nurtured into successful enterprises. However, you must take care to undertake appropriate due diligence not only regarding the innovation but also the promoter of the innovation.

These enterprises need timely injections of both management and money if they are to achieve their potential with a high degree of success. The reality is that, globally, start-up enterprises fail at the alarming rate of 90% in the first four to five years of operation. This means that many ideas never see the light of day in the context of their potential contribution to the growth of the economy. What a waste!

What is more we accept this failure rate and continue merrily on our way instead of addressing the reasons why businesses fail and set about to find an innovative solution to correct this unsatisfactory situation. The reasons for high failure rate are, in my opinion, primarily due to weaknesses in the application of business management systems and the lack of timely access to appropriate financial instruments. Both of these are addressed in the innovative solution, the CBET Shepherding Model™ which is promoted as necessary and sufficient for sustainable business success.

The ManoBiz Matrix™ is a business management systems monitoring instrument, a gap analysis tool, which provides readings on the health of the business from a business systems management perspective. A medical analogy would be regular blood tests ordered by a physician to monitor the health of a number of systems in the human body. The readings from the blood test give an indication as to the health of the systems of the body and allow the physician to detect which systems are healthy and which need attention. Similarly for the business, the ManoBiz Matrix™ test gives an indication as to the health of the business and allows the shepherd to detect which systems are healthy and which need attention. Shepherding, which includes the diligent application of these tests and the prescription of solutions, will result in the mitigation of business failure rate in the same way that the consistent application of blood or other tests will result in the reduction of morbidity and mortality rates in the human being.

Financial institutions do not usually fund start-ups, quite correctly because of the stated high risk and the frequently impecunious state of the assets of many a start-up enterprise which makes it virtually impossible for the start-up enterprise to qualify for the popular loan instrument. In any case, the loan contract usually requires the start-up enterprise to pay interest and principal immediately which in many cases places an insurmountable burden on the cash flow of the fledgling enterprise.

The Quick Response Seed and Venture Capital Fund creates an environment in which the promoter of the idea is never financially exposed but does require that the enterprise is diligently and passionately managed to mitigate the risk of business failure. This is the innovative financial solution provided by the CBET Shepherding Model™.

I have had the privilege over the last 12 years of consulting directly with Dr. Grenville Phillips in the development of the Caribbean Business Enterprise Trust Inc. and the CBET Shepherding Model™. His insights analyses and recommendations were invaluable. Dr. Grenville Phillips is a former principal of the international accounting firm of Coopers & Lybrand. He is also a former chairman of the Barbados National Bank and serves as a director on the board of several public companies. He is the current chairman of the Barbados Stock Exchange.

He has just published a book entitled “Venture Capital and SME Financing in Less Developed countries and small island states. Here a brief review by Harold Hoyte, Editor Emeritus, the Nation Newspapers in support of Dr Phillips publication.

“Dr. Phillips has once more unselfishly shared from his vast experience and knowledge. This is a rich volume which will be invaluable in our boardrooms, executive offices and libraries as it provides a carefully crafted guide for financing small and medium sized businesses. His is a practical and sensible approach written in context and with clarity, yet making effective use of a frank, sassy style of expression. A lifetime of successfully advising others is condensed in a form that makes the book a great resource for generations of people to come.”