“Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him, and He will act.” – Psalm 37:5

Three weeks ago a friend of mine from school days and I were reflecting on recent changes in our personal lives. He wrote: “If you remember many years ago you introduced me to The Power of Positive Thinking …It does work”. I agreed and told him that to this day, I follow and attempt to practise positive thinking philosophies.

There was a report in the press last week with the opening sentence: “The Barbados government has described as ‘malicious and unfounded’ reports that the island has held talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).” This was followed by an immediate reported statement from the finance and economic affairs minister that Barbados would not be devaluing its local currency and there will be no IMF programme – not now, not June, not this year, and if we act as we are supposed to act, not in the foreseeable future.

He did add that if we do not anchor our macroeconomic policy response around the foreign exchange function in this economy, we will run out of options when the foreign exchange reserves are dissipated. He continued “We have adequate levels of reserves even despite of the fall-off in the economy; we are still on the field of play and have a definite chance of winning.”

These statements by the minister exude confidence about the current potential of the Barbados economy to recover and grow and would suggest that with the right macro-economic polices Barbados can support the existing exchange rate. However, we must remember that the performance of the economy depends on our skill in managing the internal business environment and on our response to the vagaries of the external economic environment. The following quote from Norman Vincent Peale, the author of The Power of Positive Thinking, is relevant: “Action is a great restorer and builder of confidence. Inaction is not only the result, but the cause, of fear. Perhaps the action you take will be successful; perhaps different action or adjustments will have to follow. But any action is better than no action at all.”

The finance and economic affairs minister suggested that Barbadians must be prepared to expand their businesses since “we can’t make our best living feeding off of each other. We need to sell our services and goods to the world.”

When the late Hon. David Thompson, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance of Barbados, presented the Financial Statement and Budgetary Proposals on Monday, July 7, 2008, he stated that “to achieve sustainable economic growth there must be a national focus on developing a family of successful high performance enterprises, one enterprise after another”. The Action required to build confidence must be grounded in enterprise development, productivity and global competitiveness. The ingredients of enterprise development are creativity, innovation, entrepreneurship and shepherding. Productivity and global competitiveness are nurtured by positive thinking.

These issues were addressed in a session on Business Models at the Business Showcase mounted by the Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of Business held last week at the Trinidad Hyatt. There were presentations from IBIS (T and T), BizBooster (T and T), Branston Centre for Entrepreneurship (Jamaica) and CBET Shepherding Model (St. Lucia and Barbados).

The objectives of the National Incubator Business Information System (launched in 2011) are to enhance economic development in communities and also to encourage the establishment of competitive and innovative micro and small enterprises (MSEs) throughout the country. IBIS offers solutions to the problems typically faced by MSEs such as unaffordable work spaces, information deficiencies, inadequate financing and management deficiencies.

The Lok Jack GSB BizBooster programme (launched in 2012) is primarily an SME growth centre and commercial business incubator. The BizBooster is a collaborative relationship among private enterprise, academia and government, aimed at providing innovative startups and existing companies with a wide range of services, financial and non-financial resources for growth, success and sustainability.

The Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship – Caribbean (launched in 2011) was opened in Montego Bay Jamaica by Sir Richard Branson. The Centre is a hub for aspiring entrepreneurs. The mission is to offer practical business skills, access to coaches to offer guidance, mentors to share their experiences, professional services to build strong businesses, exposure to networks, finance and investment opportunities. The Centre believes that these are essential components for entrepreneurs to grow strong and sustainable businesses. The Branson Centre’s vision is to support the development of small and growing businesses to create jobs and contribute to the economy in the Caribbean region.

The owner of the intellectual property associated with the CBET Shepherding Modelâ„¢ (launched in Barbados in 2009) is Caribbean Business Enterprise Trust Inc. legally domiciled in St. Lucia. The Model consists of three processes. The first is the Enterprise Selection process which delineates how to select enterprises which can rapidly grow the economy. This process focuses on conducting due diligence on “DNA of an Elephant” enterprises which have export potential and the associated entrepreneurs. The second is the Shepherding process which delineates how to address the endemic high global failure rate of fledgling enterprises. This process focuses on the management of business systems through the innovative ManOBiz Matrixâ„¢. Shepherding mitigates the risk of business failure. The third is the Quick Response composite benevolent Seed/Venture capital investment process which delineates how to get timely access to finance. This process focuses on the establishment and management of investment funds primarily by giving government incentives to the private sector to capitalise these funds.

These Visions have been independently created. We now need the collaborative Action to build confidence in the future of the Caribbean.

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

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