“Then pay attention to how you listen; for to those who have, more will be given. ” – Luke 8:18      


Over the last three months another private sector concept has been added to the arsenal of Shepherding resources available to expedite enterprise development in the Caribbean and beyond.


It is the Shepherding Innovative Growth Squad (SIGS). It is an enhancement of the core CBET Shepherding Model™ (enterprise selection, shepherding and quick response funding) and complements the ManOBiz™ Matrix tool. It brings a new dimension of experience sharing and contacts to the mix of Start-up entrepreneur support over and above what the entrepreneur would get from the Shepherd who is assigned to the entrepreneur on a one-on-one basis.


SIGS has emerged in the entrepreneurial environment of Trinidad and Tobago and has evolved rapidly as an encounter beyond measure. The members of the squad are three to four experienced business persons who have an average of 35-40 years of business experience each. They are usually retired individuals or individuals with time on their hands and who are willing to give back to society by engaging interactively and diligently with individual fledgling entrepreneurs.


We have tested the SIGS brainstorming process in Trinidad and Tobago, with 11 clients to date and many on the waiting list, and in Barbados with just one client but several others have expressed interest in becoming involved.


The Squad has witnessed start-up entrepreneurs, with less than one year’s business experience, brainstorming simultaneously and interactively with individuals who have collectively 140 to 160 years business experience. What an overwhelming encounter this has been for the entrepreneurs and so thoroughly enjoyed by the members of the squads!


The fact that there has been no charge for the service at the point of delivery makes it even more appealing. However, there are rules and entrepreneurs must commit to quality interaction with the squad regularly to report on their progress and monitor their growth. Also, each entrepreneur must have access to a shepherd who will guide them through a structured ManOBiz process on a weekly basis. It is expected that this bonding (entrepreneur/squad) will ensure that when the entrepreneur grows and becomes successful, within the first six years, say, a contribution will be made to the “SIGS Foundation”. Hence the concept that SIGS will be paid out of future profits of the enterprise.


Other SIGS processes under development are: (1) a Shared Sales Service and (2) a Quick Response Seed and Equity Working Capital fund. More anon!


Let your mind be filled with courage and your heart be filled with love and faith as you meet the problems of everyday living. Let us listen to the voices of experience and abundance along the journey to sustainable business success.


(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.)