I am extremely passionate about helping the Caribbean to get fit for the global economy, to embrace technology and think beyond their beautiful borders. I have just returned from Antigua trialling the Supercharge Your Business Growth Workshop, which was received positively and exceeded my expectations. Antigua like many of the Caribbean Islands must diversify its economy and spur small business activity to drive sustained growth in the region.
I would agree with Alex Mitchell Co-founder and Director of Young Brits Network, invited by the Commonwealth Secretariat to help to create a strong regional voice for young entrepreneurs in the Caribbean. Alex supports the Caribbean countries all facing very similar issues:
1. Education and skills, especially those focused towards entrepreneurship and enterprise.
2. Access to finance, hardly any available funding for start-ups in the region.
3. Regulation and taxation environment not conducive to supporting start-ups.
4. Lack of a joined-up ecosystem to support entrepreneurship.
5. Cultural issues with starting out on your own not being seen as a viable career option.
Despite its famed beaches, Antigua cannot rest on its laurels if it is going to have to reinvent itself and compete in a global economy. Innovation and technology are the pathways to remain future relevant, and this requires a bigger commitment to the small and medium enterprise. By creating an entrepreneurial culture and profiling young entrepreneurial success stories, Antigua will provide much-needed inspiration for the next generation of entrepreneurs and the wider Caribbean. The payoff will not come overnight, but it may be the best chance to reverse the country’s reliance on tourism.
I advise and support start-ups as a Virgin mentor and internationally through the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women. I help established businesses prosper and growth through Cranfield School of Management and my consultancy Problem Solving Company Ltd.
The feedback from my discussions and workshop evaluations support that more focus on entrepreneurship in and out of school. All the business I spoke to:
• Wanted 121 support and guidance to help them through specific trade and cultural issues.
• Gained a shift in mind-set to help the to think of how to make their business global.
• Understood, why it is important to focus on a niche customer through a strong brand.
• Felt further government initiatives were needed to support business enhancing policies.
• Liked government-backed business lending to encourage the banks to help entrepreneurs.
I am planning to return to Antigua in November with a Supercharge Your Business Growth Bootcamp. My belief is that Caribbean entrepreneurs in any industry must pursue scalability and exportability to grow sustainable businesses, and I am here to support them.
If you would like to find out more about Supercharge Your Business Growth Bootcamp, please contact me.