“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff–they comfort me” – Psalm 23:4
I have been relentlessly promoting concepts of enterprise development in this column. The reason is simple. Sustainable economic growth is a necessary component of socio-economic well-being of the populace and sustainable economic growth can only be achieved one successful enterprise after another sector by sector. Even though I sometimes experience pockets of loneliness I have persevered, with faith as my beacon, and have found divine comfort throughout my journey.
I have no idea how many people actually read the column in the Barbados Advocate but I have had positive feedback “on the street”, verbally and in writing to a large enough extent to stimulate me to write the next column. The column is syndicated in other blogs, newsletters and newspapers in the region and beyond from which I also get positive feedback. Global reach is enhanced through Bevan who provides a service where the column is directly distributed electronically to almost 4000 addresses (new email addresses are added to the list serve weekly) globally with a reported average of 600 bounces (returned to address), virtually zero spam (perceived nuisance message), less than five opting out (for whatever reason) and about 300 persons who open the column. Of course, I only know for sure when the column is read when I get a verbal or written report. I have had many reports that some people distribute it to others in their own list serves, as deemed appropriate by them.
When one is passionate about a topic, it pervades one’s existence and there is the tendency to talk about it all the time with the objective of getting something done about it. I am no exception when it comes to enterprise development.
Sometimes I repeat myself in my column, even though I try to give it a different slant each time. I defend this on the grounds that not only new readers may not have been exposed before but also I am reminded of the importance of repetition in advertising. Repetition is an important part of advertising. Why? Because, it is through repetition that you establish your credibility, establish brand familiarity, become the first thought when a need for your type of product or service arises. The service I am promoting is the CBET Shepherding Model™ and the associated Shepherding tool, the ManOBiz Matrix™, as a necessary and sufficient condition for sustainable enterprise development.
Last week, I received a response to my August 5 column on “Wealth Distribution” from Zimbabwe which read as follows: “Really enjoyed reading your article which ties into a model that we are putting together for our Zimbabwe market but can be used by any developing country. Would really appreciate if you could send me the presentation notes on the lecture you presented to the students. I really believe you attacked the fundamental problem with developing and developed countries on the issue dealing with transitioning from Entrepreneurship to Enterprise Development. I would also be glad to share with you on the model that we are constructing for agricultural sector development and value addition”. I have since engaged in a continuing dialogue with my Zimbabwe contact, the outcome of which may be useful to this region. Zimbabwe has a population of 12.5 million which is twice the population of the Caricom region.
On August 7, I attended a National Seminar on Food Nutrition Security in Barbados: promoting sustainability, innovation, entrepreneurship and resilience in the food and agriculture sector of Barbados. We were presented with two documents: (1) Barbados Food and Nutrition Security Policy and (2) Barbados Food and Nutrition Security Plan of Action. A week later I attended the monthly meeting of the National Agricultural Commission at which members were invited to comment on the documents above. This follows decades of documents and plans for the agricultural sector, none of which has resulted in sustainable agricultural development and hence there has been little contribution from enterprises in the agricultural sector towards sustainable economic growth. I have no reason to believe that this latest effort will be successful. It is worth reminding readers that no less a person than the renowned philosophy Albert Einstein’s definition of “insanity” is “ doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”.
In between these two meetings on Tuesday 13 the Minister of Finance and economic affairs presented the 2013 financial statement and budgetary proposals to the house of assembly of Barbados.
I think in a flagging economy one has to focus on growth. The Minister said “…Greater effort will be made at finding new tourism markets and special activities in agriculture and manufacturing, while also pushing renewable energy to help in the achievement of the targeted growth projections. Construction will also be a main driver being sponsored by an accelerated public and private sector investment programme”. Little mention of financial services, the creative industries or enterprise development issues which pervade all sectors.
In 1967 Barbados produced 209,000 tons of sugar and in 2013 less than 20,000 tons of sugar. The Minister promised the major restructuring of the local sugar cane industry which has been ailing for years and is now on its death bed. What is the chance of any meaningful recovery led by Government institutions whether for sugar or non-sugar agriculture? It cannot be business as usual if the Barbados Food and Nutrition Security Plan is going to be successfully implemented. We need to continually seek divine comfort.