“Let anyone with ears to hear listen!” – Luke 8:8


Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) economies will grow just 0.2% in 2016, according to projections unveiled by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean in December 2015.


According to the World Bank’s forecasts at the beginning of 2016, India will be the world’s fastest growing economy in 2016 at 7.6 percent as China slows to 6.6 percent. I would like to think that these predictions are based on the premises that India and China shall continue doing what they have been doing, i.e. observing high standards of governance, reinvesting their profits at the enterprise level, listening to the needs of the global consumer and satisfying them, building on their elevated productivity levels and maintaining a high degree of operational efficiency.


Although LAC countries may have the potential, they are a far cry from India and China. What strategy should we in the emerging economies of the Caribbean, in particular, adopt in order to change?


I suggest that we must first spot those opportunities which have the “DNA of an Elephant” e.g. the potential for growth into the global market led by the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), where the middle classes are growing and with it global purchasing power. The Caribbean market footprint is too small and the net market penetration in North America and Europe has been insufficient to allow us to achieve and sustain high levels of growth and reduce the wealth divide.


Secondly, we must not only pay lip service to but also acknowledge and take action on the reality that effective leadership and efficient management of business systems (Shepherding) is the lynchpin which coordinates the use of our available resources (cultural, financial, human, intellectual, natural, physical, social and spiritual) in order to accomplish economic development goals and objectives, one business after another.


Thirdly, we must be creative in gaining access to developmental, foreign direct investment and local private sector funds in support of mobilizing our innovative ideas to penetrate the global market and thus laying the foundation for greater rates of economic growth.


You may have noticed that the above three-pronged strategy for change is that espoused by the CBET Shepherding Model™ .


The sectors with potential for economic development in the Caribbean include agriculture and fisheries, tourism, financial services, extractive industries, infrastructure, public health, cultural industries, mobile apps, renewable energy, information and computer technology, innovative computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing, inspirational services, consulting and cricket.


By the way, have a look at this story to give you a perspective of the future of cricket in China.


The Shepherding process is about leadership and management applied to all stakeholders in the enterprise development thrust.


The shepherding process helps each stakeholder in the following ways: (1) entrepreneurs in the making – to make the decision to leave their job and become an entrepreneur; to face and tackle the issues which may be getting in their way; and to build confidence in making the decision; (2) entrepreneurs (including start-ups, re-births, spin-offs and scale-ups) – to grow their business by minimizing risk and maximizing profit; to share the elements of the ManOBiz™ matrix; and to launch their business on a path to sustained profitability; (3) shepherds – to prepare to help entrepreneurs grow their businesses; to train them in the use of the ManOBiz™ Matrix; and to receive the Shepherding certification to meet the requirements for delivery of the Shepherding process.


The shepherding process also helps: (4) investors – to secure their investment; to get to grips with the innovative “Shepherding as collateral” concept; and to lay the foundation for an attractive return on investment; (5) board members – to become proficient; to “buy-in” to the three components of the role of a board (i) business mission, (ii) action plan approval and (iii) regular performance monitoring; and to celebrate gradual business reinforcement and success; and (6) national policy makers – to grow the national economy, one successful entrepreneur after another; to make them acutely aware of the priority needs for a user friendly enabling environment; and to increase the rate of national economic growth.


There has recently been an addition to the armoury of Shepherding resources, the Shepherding Innovative Growth Squad (SIGS). SIGS mobilizes experienced (knowledge and contacts) businesspersons in a brainstorming format with the entrepreneur to grow the entrepreneur’s business quickly. There is the incentive of no charge for SIGS services at the point of delivery.


To access funds, the innovative incentive presented by the late Hon. David Thompson, Barbados Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, on Monday, July 7, 2008, should not be ignored.


Let anyone with ears to hear listen carefully and take that first step to move forward and capture a bigger global market share. To continue on the same path is to perpetuate an act of insanity. To do nothing comes with great risk and long-term consequences. Let us encourage young entrepreneurs, in particular, to come forward by giving them incentives to be part of the enterprise development culture.


(Dr. Basil Springer GCM is Change-Engine Consultant, Caribbean Business Enterprise Trust Inc. – CBET. His email address is basilgf57@gmail.com and his columns may be found at www.cbetmodel.org  and  www.nothingbeatsbusiness.com.)