STRESSING that children should get early exposure to entrepreneurship, Lynette Holder, Chief Executive Officer of the Barbados Small Business Association (BSBA)has called for an expanded business programme in schools.
Holder made this call in the keynote address at the graduation ceremony of the Alexandra School yesterday morning.
“The time has come for more initiatives that go beyond field trips and a single career showcase. There needs to be ongoing relationships between business leaders in our community and the schools.
“Our children should be sensitised to the whole concept of entrepreneurship and the entrepreneur-spirit from early,”?she said.
Holder said she would like to see some element of mentoring and leadership in business in every school.
“Schools have to ask themselves: How creative are our programmes? How innovative are they? How relevant. On the local level no one can deny the success of the Junior Dueling Chef Competition and how it has eked out the skills of young students as well as shown them the manyopportunities there are in the area of cooking.”
The BSBA leader said: “On the international level, we are in awe at the success of Facebook and Twitter; innovations that made use of technological initiative that were already there.”
Holder said it was the role of educators to be creative in their planning and translate it into innovation.
“When the administration is sitting down and planning for a school year, do you give any thought to areas in your school that can be utilized for business ventures – a smallgarden, a thrift shop, art and craft pieces. This is where training begins.
“In the schools is where teachers show students how to design a business suit. I suggest you take this further and show them how to design a business plan as well or a business idea,” she said.
Holder told students to glean all they could from the school system and then go beyond that.
“Students – what if your teachers or principal do not recognize your creative genius? What if your parents or no adult acknowledge that you have skills and talents that can make you a successful businessperson?
“You cannot allow your dreams and visions to just vapourize. Education is everyone’s responsibility. Therefore you must motivate yourself,” she said.
Holder made it clear that innovation, should not however, be confused with creativity.
“For all intents and purposes, creativity refers to coming up with a big idea – innovation speaks to being able to commercialise creativity; the execution of the idea. This is where the challenge for us is – The ability to execute.
“We are the best at ideas and creativity but the poorer for implementation, execution or commercialisation of those ideas.”