The entrepreneur behind this country’s regionally acclaimed solar water heating system has urged Barbados to increase its global presence by trading on its experience, not only in solar energy, but the capacity to deliver solutions.
“For us to sharpen our economy on meaningful entrepreneurship, we must be able to create a win-win. The solutions and experience that will get us there, must not only transform lifestyles, they must equally transform livelihoods,” Dr James Husbands, a 45-year veteran of solar water heating and founder of Solar Dynamics Limited, told a panel discussion at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre this afternoon
The discussion revolved around Entrepreneurship: Paths To Success and Husbands warned fellow entrepreneurs not to ignore threats against their businesses that come from other investors.
He said his business encountered a hostile environment in its infancy, with some investors threatening to run him out of business.
“The business environment I entered therefore, was hostile from the beginning,” Dr Husbands recalled as he made his opening submission as part of the panel that included Executive Chairman of Williams Industries Dr Ralph Bizzy Williams, head of South Central Barbados and Baje International Richard Haynes, co-founder of Bitt Inc, Oliver Gale and founder of DLN Consulting, David Lashley.
“So, one of the things I must encourage people to do is to take threats seriously. That threat, 35 years later, caused us to be now collecting the embers of Solar Dynamics, because of a company that has been doing very well, earning ten per cent returns on sales, suddenly took a nose dive because the 51 per cent shareholder sold his shares to an entity who had made that threat,” the leading businessman revealed at the discussion organized by the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry as part of its monthly business luncheons.
He noted that corporate memories did not fail and corporate enemies increased, and he advised business colleagues to remember that aspirations and opportunities could become causalities of hostility, adding that those who make threats often possessed the financial means and power to destroy rather than support.
He said while it was easy to feel disillusioned, to give up or give in, he did none of these, and his company continued to survive.
“Stories like mine soured the business climate and raised barriers to competition and inclusiveness. This is not meaningful for the economy nor does it serve to sustain livelihoods for our people. Meaningful entrepreneurship must deliver a win on all sides,” he argued.
In his contribution, Williams urged all entrepreneurs to develop a good relationship with their bankers and ensure they repay their loans. He also suggested that his business colleagues share their profits with the people responsible for them making those gains and surround themselves with intelligent people.