March 4, 2010

Edward Harris At Large!


The University of the West Indies (UWI) Open Campus Saint Lucia in conjunction with the Doctorate of Business Administration (DBA) cohort two (2) of the Cave Hill School of Business (CHSB) hosted a half day seminar on the topic, “Entrepreneurship and Growth” on Saturday 27th February 2010. Professor Compton Bourne, President of the Caribbean Development Bank, served as Facilitator.

Professor Compton Bourne’s experience in Business welded with his accomplishments as an academic undoubtedly brought significant value to the topic which is of relevance to the current global economic recession.

Those who attended the seminar got a glimpse into understanding today’s economic trends and the importance of niche marketing. Professor Bourne noted that:
• No more protection of markets. Business people have to face the competition.
• Innovative Entrepreneurship is a scarce commodity and it is necessary to structure a system of incentives and rewards. Sometimes, it is necessary for governments to set the pace but it is for businessmen to innovate and create new markets.
• Economic Agencies should be flexible and change in accordance with the needs of the time.
• Procrastination shrinks margin of profit – such as delay on the wharf, etc.
• Decision makers must be quick to spot a difficulty that needs to be addressed and take decisive action.
• It is necessary to create a framework in which the business community plays a larger role in shaping policy and giving urgency to policy.
• The Diaspora can be an important element in growth of trade in Food Products.

The Question and Answer period was very lively and it was generally agreed that there are many initiatives that can be taken to reverse the negative economic trend. New activities will have to be found to generate sustainable income. Areas such as Knowledge Transfer, Solar Heating, Sports Tourism, etc. – simply finding the right niches should be pursued.

Listening to Professor Bourne was a re awakening to the many calls I made in the past to get government to be the driver in areas that only political direction can yield the desired results. Sometimes, government has to set the pace, it is their call. There are initiatives for the government to undertake and there are initiatives for the private sector to undertake. Sometimes achieving a specific goal will take collaboration to yield the best results.

There is no better way to find solutions to problems regardless of their magnitude than providing an opportunity for a meeting of minds. The participants expressed great satisfaction with the quality of interaction that the seminar provided. Mr. Michael Joseph and his team did a commendable job.

I was delighted to participate in the celebration of the 40th Anniversary of the Republic of Guyana which was held at the Sandals Grande last Saturday evening. The gathering which comprised of Guyanese and St. Lucians of all races was graced with the presence of Her Excellency, Dame Pearlette Louisy – Governor General and Honorable Stephenson King – Prime Minister and Mrs. King. Mr. Lokesh Singh – Honorary Consul for Guyana to St. Lucia and members of his committee who executed the activities did Guyana well in celebrating the important milestone. Long live Guyana! The few speeches were well received and quickly gave way to the night’s entertainment with jokes provided by Mr. Shivnauth Doodnauth and musical renditions by Ronald Hinkson and Dave Martins. The buffet was sumptuous and Guyanese were introduced to Guylucian Pepperpot. I was reliably informed that a new pepperpot recipe is now in circulation.

The first quarter of the year 2010 is upon us and as usual all eyes have begun to turn into the direction of the Budget. This has got to be the most innovative budget ever. Stimulus is the watch word and business persons are expecting that job creation in the construction sector will put money in the pockets of the wage earners. This will generate business activity. However, it appears to me that the biggest dent in generating new employment will come from the micro and small business sector. I am hopeful that the Youth Enterprise Equity Fund will be rolled out in the shortest possible time and the young people will get to work in the ICT sector. I see a major thrust in generating employment in Internet related businesses. Let us make it happen!

Keep the Faith, God is in Charge; expect Daily Miracles!

Edward Harris
Biblicist, Freelance Journalist, Realtor, Business & PR Consultant
Websites: St. Lucia – Agent ECREDMC

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