“So that they may have all the riches of assured understanding … all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” – Colossians 2:2-3

Global Entrepreneurship week was celebrated last week. The activities which were part of the Barbados contribution may be found at http://bb.gew.co.

Entrepreneurship is the process of setting up a business the construct of which is:

(1) Concept and idea (inventor); (2) Convert this idea into a product or service which meets the needs of consumers (innovator); (3) Start small, do it right, make profit, then expand (entrepreneur); and (4) Mitigate the risk of business failure by securing the financial investment (shepherding).

The power of entrepreneurship is now being recognised the world over by politicians, civil servants, captains of industry, faith-based organisations, NGOs and the youth as the thrust that will set us free.

The benefits of successful entrepreneurship include increased foreign exchange earnings, foreign exchange savings, reduced unemployment, optimal use of indigenous resources, increased business profitability, and growth in tax revenues due to enhanced economic growth.

In California, Bill Gross, Co-founder and Executive Chairman of IdeaMarket, stated: “My whole life I have been trying to find problems in the world, and build technology companies to help solve those problems. IdeaMarket is a company that can do that at scale, and truly use entrepreneurship and ideas to make the world a better place.”

His Co-founder and CEO Vj Anma adds: “Entrepreneurs are the lifeblood of our economy. We are the three percent that moves 90 percent of our economy. Our vision is to scale it up massively and add one trillion dollars in value to the global economy.”

IdeaMarket brings together talent, money and ideas. My hypothesis is that if we add Shepherding (life coaching, business mentoring, Theo-economics and community service) to that mix of three then we shall have a positive impact on reducing the global business failure rate of 90 percent in the first four years for start-ups.

There are many initiatives in the Caribbean which are aimed at promoting this entrepreneurship thrust.

In Jamaica, the Branson Centre for Entrepreneurship.

In Barbados, the Bank on ME “The Reality Show that means Business” – an innovative and exciting TV show for entrepreneurs.

The show invites entrepreneurs to take on challenges and pitch their ideas to a panel of judges for various forms of investment and support. 

Small- and medium-sized businesses within the Bank on ME network of support can develop their business plans, engage with mentors, network and attract investment in an exciting and entertaining format.

There are plans to launch Bank on ME in Trinidad and Tobago in 2015.

The Central Bank of Barbados has recently expressed interest in supporting an equity fund to complement its loan guarantee scheme.

The Barbados Entrepreneurship Foundation has recently launched its “Trident Angels” Angel Investor Network.

In Trinidad and Tobago, there are several agencies involved in entrepreneurship.

The Trinidad market is replete with creativity and innovation and there are at least 16 government initiatives, under at least seven different ministries, which support enterprise development.

Under the Ministry of Labour and Small and Micro Enterprise Development there are at least four entities: (1)The National Entrepreneurship Development Company Limited (NEDCO – management of creative financing and support for all enterprises); (2) The National Integrated Business Incubation System (IBIS – an incubation system offering support services, including mentoring, infrastructural support, ITC, operational support, financing, as well as networking for access to local and foreign markets); (3) Community Empowerment through Enterprise Development (CEED – an IBIS programme for community-based enterprises); and (4) FairShare (FS – an online database of MSEs, funding and training).

Under the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Investment there are at least three entities: (5) InvestTT (Portal for investors, customised investor solutions, knowledgeable sector experts, strategic alliances and an extensive network of real estate and technology parks); (6) ExportTT (development of a sustainable and diversified export sector); and (7) Evolving Tecknologies and Enterprise Development Company Limited (e TecK – making suitable real estate available).

Under the Ministry of Community Development there is at least one entity: (8) Export Centres Company Limited (ECCL – creating craft entrepreneurs).

Under the Ministry of Planning and Sustainable Development there are at least five entities: (9) CARIRI’s Centre for Enterprise Development (CED – building capacity and capability for enterprise creation); (10) Economic Development Board (EDB – reshaping strategies for economic development by facilitating diversification and achieving a diversified economy within the framework of sustainable development); (11) Council for Competitiveness and Innovation (CCI – taking action to make firms more competitive and expand exports); (12) Ideas to Innovation (i2i – a CCI competition to become a vehicle for the development of ideas with commercial potential) and (13) Caribbean Climate Innovation Centre (CCIC – a Jamaica Science Research Council/CARIRI partnership to increase enterprise development of local climate technologies).

Under the Ministry of Finance and Economy there is at least one entity: (14) Trinidad and Tobago Investment Finance Centre (TTIFC – attracting and facilitating foreign direct investment in the financial services sector to establish an equity fund that would enhance the growth and diversification of the economy).

The Caribbean Food 2020 Business Innovation Revolution will be launched by an international group early in 2015 based on the belief that the Caribbean can inspire the world by levering food as a business example.

I spend most of my time shepherding as a contribution to the development of the small business sector and its stakeholders. This is a very gratifying experience and I love it.

Let our lives not be stagnant or dull, but filled with new joys as we pursue the entrepreneurship culture by mobilising talent, financial resources, ideas and shepherding to secure the future for posterity.

(Dr. Basil Springer GCM is Change-Engine Consultant, Caribbean Business Enterprise Trust Inc. – CBET. His columns may be found at www.cbetmodel.org and www.nothingbeatsbusiness.com.)