“Forgetting the things which are behind, and stretching forward to the things which are before.” – Philippians 3:13.
Caribbean-born historian Professor Richard Drayton will deliver the 41st Sir Winston Scott Memorial lecture tonight at 8 p.m. at the Frank Collymore Hall where he will speak on the topic “The Time of Sovereignty: the History of Political Independence and its Future”.
There is a wealth of information in the 40 lectures that have been delivered. Has the University of the West Indies embarked on a project to innovatively convert all those excellent ideas which have been presented into business projects which will help us on the way to a sustainable future?
Last year the lecture was delivered by Dr. Nicholas Brathwaite (son of the recently deceased Grenadian Prime Minister, Sir Nicholas Brathwaite) on the topic “Technology, Innovation and Entrepreneurship: Igniting Economic Growth, Enhancing Global Significance, and Fuelling Socio-Economic Development in the Commonwealth Caribbean”. It was very well received.
I was honoured last week to get a response from Dr. Brathwaite on my recent column entitled: “Innovative Investment Model to Stimulate Economic Growth”.
He stated: “In my opinion there are significant challenges to fostering an entrepreneurial culture in the Caribbean. In addition to access to capital and access to markets you mentioned in your article, other challenges include the following:
“(1) Understanding of the competitive landscape. Our entrepreneurs seem to have very good ideas and technical skills but almost all of the Caribbean start-ups I have seen had very limited understanding of the competitive landscape which is critical in today’s global marketplace;
“(2) We need our entrepreneurs to take a more team oriented approach to entrepreneurship. Instead of many of them starting businesses that appear to be competing against each other for limited financial and intellectual resources, they need to team up and try to create one or two businesses with significant potential; and
“(3) We need a mentorship system for our entrepreneurs who need a lot of support and guidance. We spend a lot of money on training courses in entrepreneurship theories by people who have no entrepreneurial accomplishments when what most of our entrepreneurs need is mentorship by credible and accomplished mentors. Just my 2 cents.”
My response was as follows: “Thanks for taking the time to respond and for your ‘2 cents’, obviously a denomination of a powerfully valued currency. What I promote at present is a “Shepherding” model. Shepherding evolved from traditional mentoring and embraces the following components: (1) Value chain coordination – your ‘team oriented approach’; (2) Mind set change – positive affirmations of passion, persistence and patience to attract abundance into the entrepreneurs’ business, financial, mental, emotional relationships, physical, and spiritual health – leading to happiness; (3) Skill set change – your ‘mentorship by credible/accomplished mentors’; and (4) Cross cultural communication change – your ‘understanding the competitive landscape in today’s global marketplace’ – quality, price, timeliness of delivery and continuity of supply. Thanks for the opportunity to dialogue.”
Let us focus on the “Now” as we celebrate our 50th anniversary of Independence, and encourage our innovative entrepreneurs as they develop an entrepreneurial culture and lay the foundation for a sustainable future.
(Dr. Basil Springer GCM is Change-Engine Consultant, Caribbean Business Enterprise Trust Inc. – CBET. His email address is email@example.com and his columns may be found at www.cbetmodel.org and www.nothingbeatsbusiness.com.)