Developing entrepreneurship

The Barbados Entrepreneurship Foundation (BEF) is expected to submit a new charter to Government early this year as it seeks to bring more cohesion to the development of entrepreneurship on the island.

Chief executive officer of the BEF Celeste Foster told Barbados TODAY that a copy of the first charter, which was subsequently revised, was sent to the Government and Opposition for review last year.

“What the charter looks at essentially is all the areas that we think that we can move business and entrepreneurship and enterprise forward. So we have areas of education finance, general business facilitation, the overall pathway of entrepreneurial framework that would make Barbados better for both local and international players,” she explained.

“[The charter] speaks not only to Government structures but how do we create an entrepreneurial ecosystem that allow us to interact with all the various players, because what we found when we had a consultancy here earlier is that Barbados has a lot of players but it is not a comprehensive effort. That is one of the reasons we are not able to see the cohesion and growth – because we are not connected in the way we aught to be.”

Foster said there needed to be a clear road map identifying all points of contacts for entrepreneurs and the different levels.

“So we have been having discussions with the Barbados Youth Business Trust (BYBT), the Youth Entrepreneurship Scheme (YES) and the ministries. We are working with all the various players so that eventually we can all come together and transform the landscape of Barbados as far as the whole enterprise development and creation of that ecosystem to enable Barbados to become more competitive,” she added.

The BEF CEO said the concept was well received and some small steps were being made, adding that across the region entrepreneurship was being introduced into secondary schools at least at A level.

“That to me is a step in the right direction. We are hoping that in another year or two it filters down to the Fifth Form level. We started our angel investor network and we have been talking about how do we move people from an angel investor and seed funding onto the junior stock exchange. So I think that we have not had stumbling blocks put in our way but the facilitation has been heavy going. So generally speaking the Government, Opposition and most of the stakeholders have been very open to the ideas,” she said.

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