The appeal of entrepreneurship

I’m excited to be speaking at the Focus of Entrepreneurship breakfast seminar this week, hosted by Spark Global Business Caribbean, along with other Barbadian entrepreneurs Khalil Bryan, Kirk Browne and veteran entrepreneur, Ralph “Bizzy” Williams. My focus will be on Women in Business, but I will share aspects of business that apply to both men and women, so I hope the men will have some takeaways to apply in their businesses as well.

Entrepreneurship is currently a buzz word, not just in Barbados, but globally. As I told the PR team when asked my thoughts on entrepreneurship in Barbados, I said that it is the way forward for Barbados. That is why I am so passionate about it, particularly for women. There is always the discussion about whether people can be taught to be entrepreneurs. My position is based on  Shakespeare’s quote: “Some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them.” In the same way, some are born entrepreneurs, some achieve entrepreneurship and some have entrepreneurship thrust upon them.

I was recently having a discussion with a colleague about whether geniuses are really born or if they become geniuses because of their mindset and their application to practicing their craft. I believe that there is a combination of the two because we are all born with particular gifts and abilities but it is how much effort we exert that determines whether we become brilliant at our craft or not.

I also believe that environment has a great impact on our development and what we become.

My colleague used the example of Beethoven, whose father and mother were both involved in music, which led to his exposure to music from a young age. My colleague believes that Beethoven’s environment, together with his commitment to practice, made him one of most famous composers today. I believe that the same is true of entrepreneurs. When I was involved with the Barbados Entrepreneurship Foundation’s $20 Challenge, we
often found that some of the most creative and entrepreneurial students came from families whose parents were entrepreneurs.

Exposure to entrepreneurship seemed to breed entrepreneurs. I am seeing an increased interest in entrepreneurship in Barbados, which is great, but my desire is to see more businesses that are export-oriented than import-oriented as we all know that we need the foreign exchange. And as I always say, export does not always mean putting a product in a box and shipping it out. It can be selling products that are made in Barbados to visitors to the island, thereby earning the foreign currency that they bring with them.

One of the ladies from my first WINC Acceleration programme runs an award-winning restaurant in Speightstown. After her guests kept asking her about some of the condiments that she used to accompany their meals, she decided to bottle and sell some of the more popular ones. She got help from BIDC with the labelling and now she has an export product, which is an additional stream of income, without the complexities of bottling and labelling for the export market since her guests buy them straight from
the restaurant.

In this Internet age, there are numerous opportunities to sell products and services without leaving the island. Every time I publish a book, it goes on the Amazon Kindle store first which is available to readers all over the world. The main reason why I print paperbacks and bring them in, is because many of my readers in Barbados still like a book in their hand. It is also beneficial to have hard copies so that when visitors go into Pages or the Museum and see my books, particularly the historical novels, they buy them because of the history and also because they are written by a local author.

For them, it is like buying a souvenir to take home and we benefit from the foreign currency spend. Almost every day I get messages about my website from people asking me if I want to buy social media services, marketing services, search engine optimization services etc. A friend of mine in Jamaica had a website done by a lady in India. These are opportunities that are available to entrepreneurs here in Barbados as well and they are foreign exchange earners.

Video is the way to go. Everyone turns to YouTube to learn how to do something. That is another area that we can exploit. I am excited to release my ABC’s of Entrepreneurship in another month or so and my plan is to market it in the region, and possibly beyond and hopefully earn much needed foreign exchange for the country. Entrepreneurs can make knowledge-based videos and sell access to them.

Part of entrepreneurship is looking at emerging trends and consumer behaviour and creating products and services to meet their needs. You must be constantly learning and growing, which is why I am excited, not only to talk at the seminar, but to learn from other entrepreneurs, both younger and older than myself.

(Donna Every is an author, international speaker and trainer. She is also the Barbados Ambassador for Women’s Entrepreneurship Day (2014 – 2016) and the Barbados Facilitator for the InfoDev WINC Acceleration Programme. Email: donna@donnaevery.com; Website www.donnaevery.com; www.facebook.com/DonnaEvery1)

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