“My brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance” – James 1:2-3

“Patience is a Virtue” is a proverbial phrase that has withstood the test of time. Difficult times in one’s life might be induced by economic recession, physical and non-physical causes of body imbalance, death of a loved one, natural disasters, social dislocation, cultural adjustment, inefficient planning, poor investments and the like. Whatever the cause(s), we have the spiritual promise that patience is a virtue and as the “Daily Word” reminds us life is more like a stairway, where our role is to take it one step at a time learning and growing as we go, rather than an elevator lifting us to new heights easily and effortlessly. Indeed, we may be comforted by the thought that “every setback is a setup for a comeback” as Pastor A. R. Bernard from the New York Christian Cultural Centre, among others, is wont to say. We should be grateful, patient, and open to learning; then, we must take action.

Last week’s column ended with the phrase “Indeed, a superbly stimulating fortnight!” This was corroborated by the comment from a colleague “Sounds like your busyness continues Basil! What an inspiring fortnight indeed! Great to see so many wonderful experiences in your path!”

Last week, which I spent in Trinidad, was no less inspiring. The 5th Biennial International Business, Banking and Finance Conference examining critical issues in the Caribbean was hosted by The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine and The Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago at the UWI campus. This international conference is a forum for exchange of ideas on critical business, banking and financial issues facing the Caribbean region at this time. It served to bring together international and regional business leaders, senior officials from regional and international public and private sector financial institutions and academics.

My focus, as a panellist on the theme “Pushing the Boundaries of Entrepreneurship”, was five- fold. Firstly, to conceptualise that the factors inhibiting enterprise development define the boundaries of entrepreneurship which have to be pushed or penetrated; secondly, to identify these inhibiting factors and classify them as issues to be addressed; thirdly, to delineate the risks associated with each issue which may have a negative effect on success of the enterprise; fourthly, to propose a strategy for change that will mitigate the risk of business failure; and fifthly, to promote, as a business franchise, the implementation of the three processes of the innovative home-grown CBET Shepherding Model™: (1) the Enterprise Selection process; (2) the composite quick response Seed/Venture Capital Investment process; and (3) the Shepherding process; as a comprehensive solution to penetrate the boundaries of entrepreneurship.

These inhibiting factors along with their corresponding risks are: (1) “Poor selection of start-up, spin-out and scale-up enterprises and their promoters” with the risk of “Inadequate potential for expansion to the export market”; (2) “Lack of timely access to appropriate sources of finance” with the risk of “Under capitalisation and slow lift off”; and (3) “High failure rate” with the risk of “Fluctuating combined enterprise growth rates”. These collective risks frustrate the achievement of the objective of sustainable enterprise development and hence sustainable economic growth.

The corresponding strategies for change and their CBET Shepherding Model™ implementation solutions are: (1) Discrimination between “DNA of Elephant” and “DNA of an Ant” enterprises (i.e. selecting enterprise with potential for export); select enterprises after conducting due diligence on the enterprises and their promoters; (2) Introducing the CBET Model designed composite Seed/Venture Capital investment instrument and not a loan instrument; capitalise the Venture Capital Fund by accessing private sector finance supported by an incentive of a government guarantee of the investment capital; and (3) Selecting appropriate shepherds and assigning them to enterprises; give shepherds the authority and responsibility to drive the revenue of the enterprise and prepare a pitch to the board of the Venture Capital fund in collaboration with the management of the enterprise.

In the time allotted I was unable to introduce the ManOBiz Matrix™ shepherding tool which is a multiple purpose action planning, gap analysis and monitoring instrument with a planned interactive dashboard feature. However, in the discussion which followed I gave an inkling of its potential. It was very gratifying to meet promoters of potential enterprises afterwards in one-on-one discussions who were excited to learn more about how the ManOBiz Matrix can impact the development of their enterprises or institutions.

The next opportunity to present the Model in a public forum will be at the May 27th – 29th 2013 Lok Jack Graduate School of Business Showcase at The Hyatt in Trinidad when I have been allocated a longer time to present and discuss the Model. It has been a long journey but patience is a virtue!

A colleague invited me to meet him at a Caribbean/Latin American Regional International Vocational Education and Training Association (IVETA) Conference hosted by Trinidad & Tobago. I attended a rather interesting session on the traditional vs. the open teaching model after which we conducted our business which was to foster a partnership between the engineering, building and construction industry and the CBET Shepherding Model.

The lead presenter was a Trinidadian from Belmont who currently resides in Botswana. She explained how the open teaching model is primarily a pedagogical method as a response to traditional forms of instruction. It includes enquiry-based research, flexible delivery, education as a process, case studies and reflection through an interactive dialogue process.