Economic climate ‘strangling’ start-upsProfessor Avinash Persaud at the Cave Hill School of Business with Anne Reid and Dr Donley Carrington. (Sandy Pitt)
Mon, October 08, 2012 - 4:00 PM
THE GLOBAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP MONITOR’s (GEM) 2011 report on Barbados dispels the myth that Barbadians are not entrepreneurial,” says Professor Avinash Persaud.
Instead, the economist suggested that the economic environment “strangles” people who would otherwise go on to start businesses.
He was speaking at the Cave Hill School of Business on Friday minutes after the results of the GEM study were announced.
The study found that despite the high number of individuals who thought they could take advantage of an entrepreneurship opportunity and a very low fear of failure, the number of individuals who intended to start a business was very low.
In addition, the level of total entrepreneurial activity in Barbados was found to be below average for efficiency-driven economies.
Persaud suggested that the “astronomical” cost of starting up a business was a major hindrance.
“I think the survey says that Barbadians are entrepreneurial, that Barbadians see opportunities, that Barbadians do not fear failure.
“Indeed, living in Barbados you see entrepreneurship everywhere.
“Those street stores are entrepreneurs; people taking great risk. Of course it’s very hard to survey them because often they’re illegally positioned,” he said.
Persaud stressed that there was “nothing about that that cannot be changed”.
“There’s nothing that stops us allowing people to set up companies online for $25,” he said.
The chairman of Paradise Beach Limited noted, however, that entrepreneurs should not wait for someone to give them capital or rely on commercial banks.
He said “successful entrepreneurs around the world were not those who
had been given a government handout or had benefited from a central bank fund, but those who “worked three jobs” and “backed their own ideas”.
“Entrepreneurs without collateral, without projections cannot expect a bank to back their ideas. Banks don’t do that.
“Governments and taxpayers can’t be in that business either.
We can improve financing but we have to be very innovative about it,” he said, noting that credit unions were a good source of funding.
He also said Government had to do a better job with its factoring programme and take a “muscular approach” to improving broadband access.
“If we want our entrepreneurs to be able to treat the world as their market, they need to have reliable, cheap broadband access,” he said. (NB)
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