There is a phenomenon in Barbados that never ceases to amaze me, so you may see me writing about it ad nauseam. It is our failure to complete and implement things. I call it an abortion syndrome where we seem unable (or maybe unwilling) to birth the things that we conceive. Or perhaps the problem is with who conceives them.
Take for instance the report produced by the Fiscal Deficit Committee that was appointed by the Prime Minister himself. The committee spent hours meeting and brainstorming to come up with plans to address the fiscal deficit but the labourers seem to have laboured in vain, as nothing (to my knowledge) has been implemented.
Then there the Auditor General’s report which is faithfully prepared every year. He is one Government worker that seems to work tirelessly to do his job. Unfortunately, I see the same issues coming up each year, which indicates that nothing is acted upon or no suggestion is implemented. Perhaps if people’s jobs were tied to performance, his report would have more teeth. And I constantly lament about the Prevention of Corruption Act that has been passed in both Houses and only needs to be proclaimed, not to mention the Freedom of Information Act that we have heard mentioned but which seems far from being enacted. I often wonder why the government takes the time to have these acts drafted if they don’t plan to implement them. Is it only to give the appearance of compliance to lull us into the belief that they are doing something when they have no intention of doing anything?
That there is no dearth of ideas and solutions in Barbados was made very clear in July when Dr Ronnie Yearwood held a public forum to generate ideas to address some of the issues in the nation. Our problem, as I said, is the implementation. From my days of consulting, I know full well that it is a common problem even in the private sector. Many companies spend a lot of time and money preparing a strategic plan, then fall down at implementing it.
That is why I am always thrilled to see people finish what they start and implement something they have worked on, especially in business. So I want to celebrate today because a project I was working on is finished and is about to be implemented. Having embarked on creating a dramatized video series for entrepreneurs and students since last year, I am just about ready to launch it and will be having a preview for the cast and crew this weekend.
I now have a healthy respect for our local film makers like Rommel Hall, who gave us The Joneses and Abiola, while working on a shoestring budget. Filming the videos is one set of challenges, but the post production phase takes a certain amount of genius and fortitude to my mind.
The series is the first of its kind in the Caribbean. Based on my book The ABC’s of Entrepreneurship, which has become a favourite of the Barbados Entrepreneurship Foundation to stimulate entrepreneurship in students, the film series dramatizes the book so that it is not only educational but entertaining.
Knowing that most people today learn what they need to from watching YouTube videos and that we all seem to have increasingly short attention spans, the videos are on average about ten minutes long and will be hosted on a learning platform so that users can test their knowledge online after watching each one, but more importantly, apply what they learn to start or operate their business.
These videos primarily deal with the start-up phase of a business, but from my experience with entrepreneurs, it will also benefit those already in business who may never have prepared a proper plan, or done market research and may lack some knowledge about parts of running a business.
I think this project is especially important now since, like the main character, many students may leave university or school, not able to find a job and find themselves having to consider starting a business. As I say, some people are born entrepreneurs, some achieve entrepreneurship and some have entrepreneurship thrust upon them. The latter will become increasingly the way that people find themselves becoming entrepreneurs.
I no longer wrestle with who is an entrepreneur. In my opinion, as long as someone starts a business, takes the responsibility for sourcing and organizing the resources and takes the risks and enjoys the rewards associated with the venture, they are an entrepreneur.
The difference then is based on what they do with their business that makes them an extraordinary entrepreneur. If they simply purchase and retail goods, that does not exclude them from the title of entrepreneur, but if they create their own products or services and sell them or do something in a new and exciting way, that simply makes them an innovative or creative entrepreneur.
The bottom line is we need many more successful entrepreneurs in the island because of the benefits they bring to the economy. I am hoping that this series itself will be a benefit to the economy, not only by exporting it to the region, but also by stimulating young people, especially, to consider entrepreneurship as a favourable option to looking for a job.