“Riches and honour are with me, as well enduring wealth and prosperity.”- Proverbs 8:18

The word prosperity conjures up thoughts of financial and/or economic wealth. In the context of an individual, prosperity may be measured in terms of the assets which the individual may have inherited or legitimately earned using the talents or good fortune with which he or she may have been blessed. Individuals with high financial net worth may be described as financially prosperous individuals.

In the context of a country, prosperity may be measured in terms of the success with which that country has been able to convert the many types of capital (human, physical, natural, intellectual, social, financial, cultural and spiritual) with which it has been blessed, into wealth. Countries with high GDP per capita, high levels of foreign reserves, low unemployment, a high human development index (high standard of living), high practical technological knowledge and shrewdness, widespread infrastructure, optimal land use practices and high spiritual awareness may be described as prosperous countries.

Why can’t we all be prosperous? Well I believe that we can if we open our hearts to the rich blessings of the Spirit – “riches and honour are with me, as well enduring wealth and prosperity”.  I remember, once again, the affirmation which my mother left with me many years ago: I am; therefore I can; therefore I will. We have to take action individually; our families, our communities, our private and public sector leaders have to take action.

Thinking negatively is an exercise in futility, we must be positive; we cannot entertain thoughts of scarcity but instead we must fill our entire minds with thoughts of prosperity. We must open our hearts to gratefulness as we count our blessings.

Prosperity is the state of success, it often encompasses wealth but also includes other factors which are independent of wealth to varying degrees, such as happiness and health. Remember that financial and economic notions of prosperity often compete or interact negatively with health, happiness, or spiritual notions of prosperity. Our aim therefore is to be holistically prosperous.

At any given time, at the individual level we must try to help ourselves no matter what cards of life have been dealt us. Once we exist, the spiritual environment provides all that we need. We must be aware of it. We must access it. As Brian Griffith pointed out last Wednesday in one of his “Jewels for Today” – “try to learn something about everything and everything about something – Thomas H. Huxley”. Do not stagnate, use the 24 hours provided for you daily by God, take positive action on the journey to holistic prosperity.

As we embark on this journey there are many observations that can be made. Peter Boos, Chairman of the Barbados Entrepreneurship Foundation, recently pointed out an article in Forbes magazine entitled “When Will Entrepreneurship Come Out of the Cellar?” The article attributed to E.J. Reedy, Senior Research Fellow at the Kauffman Foundation, states “By now it’s almost cliché to say entrepreneurs are the engine of the economy, but it’s an important and dynamic fact that must be closely studied… That’s why tracking firm formation trends is critically important. We need to know how our economy is faring beyond just unemployment, consumer sentiment and manufacturing. A new report out last week from the Kauffman Foundation and the U.S. Census Bureau provides a reality check about how far we have to go to see sustainable recovery.

“The Census Bureau’s Business Dynamics Statistics shows that start-ups fell to historically low levels in 2010, the most recent year for which these data are available. New firms as a percentage of all firms continued a steady downward trend in 2010 – going from a high of 13 per cent (as a percentage of all firms) in the 1980s to just under 11 per cent in 2006 before making a steep decline to 8 per cent in 2010.

“This is not the first indication that start-ups – and subsequent job creation – were declining at historic levels for a longer period of time than first understood. In a Kauffman report released last year…I examined data from the Bureau of Labour Statistics and issues beyond start-ups, like survival rates, employment growth rates and the incredible stickiness of start-up employment. If there is one thing that still haunts me about the 2011 report, it is this basic fact of business dynamics: The employment you are born with is the employment you are stuck with.

“Despite all this, new firms played a vital role in protecting us from a worse fate during the Great Recession. Were it not for the new jobs that business start-ups did create, the recession would have been even deeper, with many more jobs lost.

It is clear that the pace of decline has slowed for new firm births, but June of this year will mark three years since the recession officially ended. By my reading of the entrepreneurship data that are looking at bigger firm starts (vs. self-employment or nascent entrepreneurship), U.S. entrepreneurship has not yet begun to bounce back”.

The Barbados Entrepreneurship Foundation, a volunteer organisation, is about to launch an Enterprise/Mentor Matching and Monitoring Information System which, among other things is going be the basis on which to generate comprehensive information, on an on-going basis, on historical trends on the entrepreneurship front in Barbados and beyond.

Entrepreneurship will only “Come Out of the Cellar” in Barbados and beyond when our public, private and NGO leaders provide sources of venture capital to support such programmes as the CBET Shepherding Modelâ„¢.

(Dr. Basil Springer GCM is Change-Engine Consultant, Caribbean Business Enterprise Trust Inc. – CBET – Columns are archived at

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