“Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.”- Romans 12:11
My new year started with a bang. Many independent and innovative ideas, initiatives, interventions and projects have fed my passion for sustainable business success in the Caribbean. Maybe it is a divine plan to share my knowledge and experience in the final phase of my professional career.
It is now my challenge to make this phase as long as possible by pursuing positive affirmations of abundance in the context of engaging physical, mental, vital, emotional, financial and business energy.
I aim to eat well and exercise frequently, and the Internet keeps me in touch with whatever data, information and knowledge that I seek and contributes efficiently to my insight, understanding and wisdom. The internal divine energies of light, life and love, as a child of God, is my daily experience.
I have learnt that to be content – “you do not develop courage by being happy in your relationships every day. You develop it by surviving difficult times and challenging adversity.” (Epicurus).
The challenge of rebuilding my financial life, in keeping with the maturity of my value systems, is truly a very fascinating experience. I am now privileged to share the business experience, which has developed over the years, with young entrepreneurs to hopefully clear obstacles out of their way and allow their businesses to chart paths of sustainable success. The appreciation and respect shown by the youth is very gratifying.
Now to the New Year goodies.
Dr. Nicholas Earle Brathwaite, born in Grenada, is a successful engineer, technologist, entrepreneur, multinational business executive and private equity and venture capital investor. He delivered the recent 40th Sir Winston Scott Memorial Lecture, hosted by the Central Bank of Barbados, on “Technology, Innovation and Entrepreneurship: Igniting Economic Growth, Enhancing Global Significance, and Fuelling Socio-Economic Development in the Commonwealth Caribbean”. It is a great investment of just over an hour of your time.
Last week, I was invited to assist in an international project. The challenge of the promoters of this project is to establish a public-private partnership governance arrangement to facilitate the process. Government would establish policy, provide farmer infrastructural support and let the private sector invest money, train people at all levels and introduce proven state-of-the-art technology. The market is not a constraint.
In their feedback, the principals noted that (1) Dr. Braithwaite promoted the concept that “Agriculture is Big Business”; (2) innovation with hard work will bring success; (3) there is really not much left for the Caribbean, which is not capital intensive, but to get behind the various sub-sectors in agriculture.
Then there was the message at the New Year’s Eve service by Reverend A.R. Bernard Sr., founder, senior pastor and CEO of Christian Cultural Center located in Brooklyn, New York. Pastor Bernard’s theme for 2016 is “Quality: Setting a new standard of excellence”. He argues that quality is never an accident, it a is a result of intelligent effort in the following three areas which drive success (1) Love towards God, self and others; (2) Work, whether it is your commitment of time, talent or treasury in your occupation or your career, with no room for laziness, complacency and excuses; and (3) Ideology – our thinking and belief system. It is not the quantity of faith but the quality of faith that moves mountains. Generally, as we mature through life we move from quantity to quality. A very inspiring theme to accompany us throughout the year.
Then there was a request from a colleague who was thinking of making the jump from employee to entrepreneur in the consulting arena. He thought he could benefit from the experience of one who had done it and survived for nearly 40 years.
One of the most gratifying experiences is when a former colleague who has now migrated to the first world environment – and is embarking on a new business – writes to ask to engage your services to help roll out the new project. “We do hope that you would consider us as a client”.
When I responded positively and suggested that they should start with a board meeting, I got a response stating that “your prior shepherding sessions did not go to waste, we are a bit ahead in terms of our board meetings. I used the template that you shared with us in the previous dispensation in anticipation of you working with us on our new venture”.
Here were two other promising interventions: (1) a financial institution showed interest in developing an equity fund which is a major missing link in the Caribbean; and (2) a request to prepare a policy paper which makes a case to the CARICOM Ministers of Trade and Economic Development to support financial innovations in SME agriculture.
Let us make sure that we do not lose our passion and enthusiasm for life despite the disappointments that we may experience daily. We serve an extraordinary God and are called to be a reflection of Him.
Let us fan the fire and rekindle the spirit of the vital energy within. In particular, let us recognize that our physical existence is dependent on the production of food and that agriculture is the source of food. Our global population is growing by leaps and bounds, therefore agriculture will continue to be big business.
Let us make a fresh start, let us work smart and let us play our part.
One of the major international players in revitalizing agriculture in the Caribbean responded to Dr. Nicholas Brathwaite’s appeal to develop Caribbean agriculture. He said: “Folks, we need your help. Please continue your hard work for the region we love – it is always darkest before the dawn”.
(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.)