Participants of the 2016 Entrepreneurial Development Training Programme are being encouraged to bring their business ideas to life.
Addressing the programme orientation, alumnus of the Youth Entrepreneurship Scheme (YES), Shamelle Rice, told the participants “there is really no value in ideas”.
Rice quit her job as an arts teacher four years ago to found the charitable organisation Jabez House, which works with sex workers to get them off the streets.
She told the aspiring business owners that it is not enough to have good ideas, but they must be willing to “step out and take the plunge”.
“Having knowledge is just not enough, we can have all the knowledge and all of the information but it’s really about how we will engage in that information to execute those ideas,” Rice said.
She also warned the new cohort of trainees that the path to business ownership is not smooth predictable, but a risk-filled rocky ride.
“Being an entrepreneur is about taking risks, calculated risks, so you’re not just being wild and crazy but you want to decide sometimes ‘I’m going to be stepping out a bit here ’ because if you don’t, you’ll always be playing it safe.”
She urged participants to take advantage of the opportunities and insight provided by the YES facilitators, saying “you will be exposed to lots of great information but I want to . . . just really challenge you to make the most of it and move that idea to really becoming some sort of enterprise”.
Also present was Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, Ruth Blackman who advised participants to follow the slogan of YES, “From Idea to Enterprise”, and also highlighted the economic benefits of entrepreneurship.
“By choosing to be an entrepreneur you have created employment, not only for yourself but also for countless others, both directly and indirectly and through paying your income taxes and paying your NIS contributions and contributing to VAT…you have also contributed to the economy of Barbados,” Blackman said.
She added that she is pleased with the changing perception of entrepreneurship as an “option of last resort”, as it offers numerous benefits for the individual.
“Firstly, you have the opportunity to do what you love, secondly you are viewed as a leader, thirdly you are able to create your own future, fourthly you are your own boss and fifthly you have an awesome opportunity to make a difference,” Blackman said.