LEFT OF CENTRE: People must dream big
Can Barbados produce world-class entrepreneurs? To answer this question, one must first identify the characteristics of an entrepreneur and what makes an entrepreneur world-class.
In my eyes an entrepreneur recognizes an unmet need in the market and puts resources in place to effectively satisfy this unmet need.
The world-class entrepreneur is persistent and not easily discouraged by skeptics who can’t easily recognize the opportunity. However, he or she is not so stubborn or blindly optimistic that he or she fails to make adjustments to the execution plan as the market demands.
Hard work is the order of the day and risk-taking becomes the norm. The vision is big but the world-class entrepreneur knows he or she cannot achieve it alone so he or she works on identifying, cultivating and motivating the appropriate talent.
The world-class entrepreneur does not wait on Government for handouts or spend a large amount of time complaining about market occurrences such as new competitors; he or she is too busy trying to find solutions to roadblocks and ways to continue development.
Sounds like someone you know? It is a tall order. That’s why not everyone is cut out to travel this path.
The man who recognizes the need to sell fruit smoothies from his van at various locations throughout the day has covered phase one of being an entrepreneur. The entrepreneur is catering to an unmet need. However, to transform into a world-class entrepreneur requires a vision, a big vision.
Whereas the regular entrepreneur is content to run his smoothie bar from his one van consistently, the world-class entrepreneur has a vision of having several vans service various parts of the island; he is ready to arrange placing several other vans throughout the region and he is contemplating how to break into the international market.
What separates the regular entrepreneur from the world-class entrepreneur is the vision to create something great and the “moxy” to make it happen.
You will notice that nowhere in my definition does it state that an entrepreneur needs to live in a particular country, have a particular educational background or be from a particular social class.
Granted, some of these attributes can help make the entrepreneur’s journey a little smoother (for example, belonging to a particular social class may allow easier access to funds from well-to-do friends and family members, or help the entrepreneur gain easier access to key people to assist in business development), but none of these attributes are a prerequisite for entrepreneurial success.
We’ve heard several stories of working-class individuals who built large enterprises from the ground up – British entrepreneur Alan Sugar, American entrepreneur Sam Walton (deceased) and our very own Dereck Foster of Automotive Art.
Currently, we are producing entrepreneurs. There is no doubt about that.
However, what we are lacking are people who dream that big vision and are ready to do what it takes to make that vision a reality.
We have to cultivate the right mindset in our kids; we have to encourage them to dream big, be solution oriented, be less laid back and more go-getter.
We can definitely produce world-class entrepreneurs but it starts with people having the right vision and the right attitude. If we are truly going to make Barbados the No. 1 entrepreneurial hub in the world by 2020, it starts there.