“Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed” – Jeremiah 17:14

Traditionally, the twelve days of Christmas are the festive days beginning Christmas Day (25 December). This period is also known as Christmastide which is the season of the celebration of the birth of Christ; it is the season which feeds on the spirit of giving; and, as it encompasses the end of the calendar year, it is also the season when we reflect on the year that just past.

This year, as I approached Christmastide, I found myself not only reflecting on the events of the past year, but also more broadly on my life.

We exist to discover. As we journey through life our discovery spectrum evolves from our exposure to data and information which then constitutes our state of knowledge. Our continuing pursuits transport us through the maze of insight and understanding to the rarefied atmosphere of wisdom.

Here is I consider six phases in my life. Phase 1 (the first 19 years) began with that first breath and after a period of parental nurturing and schooling I accumulated raw data all ready to face the world on my own. Phase 2 (the next 8 years) was a period of higher education where I was equipped to convert the raw data into information. Phase 3 (the next 9 years) gave the first opportunity to interact, in a protected environment, with other disciplines in the world of work and for the first time to combine skills with real life experiences and develop knowledge.

In, Phase 4 (the next 21 years) I shed that protection, became an entrepreneur and gained that insight needed for survival. Phase 5 (the next 14 years) was devoted to sharing that insight and gaining an understanding of what sustainable development is about in small states and emerging economies. Phase 6 (the rest of my active life) will hopefully be engaged in the sharing of accumulated wisdom. It should be noted that, in parallel with phases 3 and 4, was the formative stage of family development as a contribution to posterity.

Many ideas and innovations abound in many sectors which could be converted to the products or services which drive enterprise development. The CBET Shepherding Model™ has already addressed the constraint of high failure rate by introducing and testing the concept of “Shepherding as Collateral” where shepherding mitigates the risk of business failure. The outstanding challenge which manifests itself in Phase 5, which I am continuing to address in Phase 6, is the failure to date to establish a quick response seed and equity fund to provide timely access to appropriate finance to the many start-up opportunities for enterprise development.

Our late Prime Minister, David Thompson, actually launched the Barbados Entrepreneurs’ Venture Capital Fund in November 2009 and introduced the promise of an incentive for the private sector to invest but unfortunately he passed away before the incentives were introduced and the idea died with him.

The provision of such a seed and equity fund will provide the opportunity for these enterprises to be nurtured and to grow and contribute to sustainable economic development in Barbados, the Caribbean, the Commonwealth and the world.

The Arison Group is a global investment and philanthropy group, headquartered in Israel. The Group believes in the commitment of all of us to be responsible for our actions and for our potential to influence. The concept of sustainability, which integrates responsibility for the long-term economic, social and environmental effects of our activities, motivates us to invest in securing the human existence.

The Group’s activities are carried out via two channels – business and philanthropy – that bring to fruition the values of sustainability. Arison Investments focuses on the business core of sustainability and applies the vision of securing the human existence to the field of global business. The company views the universal challenges as an opportunity for business innovation and for exerting a beneficial influence on Israel and the world. The company’s business activities are directed towards high financial returns, alongside bringing about a new business reality on Earth that incorporates consideration of the social and environmental aspects.

The Ted Arison Family Foundation focuses on listening to the needs of the community, by extending a loving hand. The foundation gives to the community through donations and activities for improving the quality of life in Israel and for bringing about a transformation of the social environment.

The spirit of the holiday season is now spreading all over the world. For most people, this is a time of good will. I believe that we should take the good will of the holiday season into our everyday lives. It is possible to give back to the community, to inspire the spirit of giving in all of us through everything we do: personal, business, philanthropic – in every aspect of our lives.

There is an opportunity for investors and philanthropists wherever they may be to establish seed and equity funds to remove the constraint which is inhibiting the development of innovative concepts into vibrant enterprise which can contribute to sustainable economic growth. The systems of the CBET Shepherding Model™ (selection of enterprises and promoters of enterprises; selection, training and development of shepherds and business advisers; and the creative combination of seed and venture capital finance) are designed to protect the investments and philanthropic gestures and contribute to sustainable growth and enhanced socio-economic well-being.

Let us shift our thoughts from worry and fear to hope and healing as we embark on this Christmastide.