Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Synergy, in general, may be defined as two or more agents working together to produce a result not obtainable by any of the agents independently.


“It is now official Government policy to spread the entrepreneurial culture to a wider cross section of Barbadians in an effort to create wealth and employment.

“We cannot achieve this goal if the vast majority of Barbadians continue to acquire more and more free education to find a job, and forever thereafter focus on consumption rather than wealth creation.”

Ok, I might be mis-interpreting these comments by the new Bajan Prime Minister or maybe because of the way its written not getting the full story here but this is kind of a strange comment to make in my opinion.

It would suggest (to me) that advanced education and entrepreneurship somehow cannot coexist and to be successful at one we have to leave off the other and to be honest it sounds like something usually said by those prevalent anti-intellectual American types who favor brawn and pulling oneself up by one's bootstraps over brains. You know the types who favor Palin over Obama. Yea dem sorta people.

I mean in my opinion everyone cannot be an entrepreneur, neither can everyone be an academic or go to university Society needs both and there has to be some balance although quite a lot of overlap occurs too.

At the same time lets not sell the pie in the sky dream that anyone with an idea and an entrepreneurial spirit will be successful just like that. Besides hard work, many of these guys can benefit from some training or advanced classes to help them run a successful business. Its not like an idea is all you need to be a successful small business. You might be able to start up with just an idea but without a plan you aren't going to get very far. And included in that plan you have to know how to market yourself and your product, how to deal with the public, how to find staff, how to handle money etc etc. And while you can learn some of this on the job and don't need schooling its not like having a little extra class time here and there would go for naught.

Look in my opinion one of the biggest challenge to entrepreneurship taking off in Barbados is the traditional bajan mindset. Most bajan parents still stress growing up and finding a good job over growing up and starting your own business. We want letters to our names, go and learn accounting or medicine or law or something so. We're not really business orientated or hustlers at heart like some of our Caribbean comrades so to increase entrepreneurship in Barbados you really have to change how kids are taught from early.

Another challenge is start up capital. Is alright to talk about promoting entrepreneurship but help them to get access to start up capital. Its not cheap or easy to do business in Barbados.

The other thing I wonder here is if this is an attempt by government to subliminally change people's mindset to get them to not go to Cave Hill in such numbers. I understand that free education for the numbers that go to UWI must put an enormous burden on the government's coffers but I don't think the way to lessen this is to discourage higher education which is what these comments seem to be doing.

If its too much of a burden or you think some folks are abusing the system or the benefits are not worth the outlay of funds do like other countries and make people pay for the education but don't lament its freeness as a deterrent to an entrepreneurial spirit since comments like the above by our head would suggest we done away with the book learning nonsense and all go open a little beach side stall.

Sorry, that last comment was extremely facetious and knocks the valuable and vast range of services and products that entrepreneurs could produce in our society but my point is that the statements made would make it seem as if entrepreneurship is anti-university study and university study is anti-entrepreneurial. Why must the two concepts be at odds with one another?

Like I said to someone earlier today being an entrepreneur is not like on tv where a light bulb goes off in your head, you sketch a few notes or designs on a napkin, go in the bank show them the napkin and the manager comes out with a big grin on his face an a suitcase full of money for you. Then you go out and build up something and the cash comes flowing in. No in the real world besides idea, you also need a plan and I fail to see how having some additional education under your belt would harm that plan.

Yes I do understand the point that most bajan university grads are looking for ready made jobs but implying in that statement that not going on to higher education will increase entrepreneurship is silly. The change has to be made by changing the way people think while they continue to study.

If not we'll end up in the same predicament as black America with everyone wanting to hustle but no one wanting to learn and society will be still unbalanced.

There has to be a way to encourage both ideas here and acknowledge that there can be overlap without sacrificing one for the other. They aren't mutually exclusive ideals in my opinion, you just have to work to bring out their synergy.


Dee said...

I don't know, the consumption was what packed a punch for me.
Rather than pooling my money to start a business and create wealth, and maybe even jobs, I'm just saving up for a vacation and a house.

neena maiya (guyana gyal) said...

Coming from a business background where my parents worked reeeeally hard, made plans, budgeted, I know how hard running a business can be. I know all that's required. Which is why I won't do it even though I love people with the entrepreneurial spirit. Love it, love it.

Actually, if I can go it alone, not having to employ anyone, I'd like to start a small [micro-small] business. Ha, maybe that's what I have, doing private English tutoring.

I am related to both sets of people - those who've pulled themselves up by their bootstraps plus highly academic folks.

A society needs both.

When I was at UWI, I saw some people live off society...I was told they were 'eternal students'. They stayed on and on, never graduating, letting taxpayers pay for them. I was surprised.

Ruthibelle said...

ay ay cap'n