Christmas Message by President of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce & Industry: Mr. Andy Armstrong

While 2011 has been another challenging year economically, at this time it is good to be reminded of more important and long term considerations.

President of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce & Industry | Andy Armstrong

At Christmas we celebrate the birth of Jesus of Nazareth. As I reflected on this I had a few thoughts.

Until he was around 30 years of age Jesus worked with his father in the family business. It was a small business – possibly no bigger than just he and his father. He worked with his hands as a carpenter. Yet he did not neglect the development of his mind and, from as early as 12, could be found in the synagogue learning and preparing himself for his new career.

At age 30 he struck out on his own path, became an entrepreneur and built a movement that has transcended country and time to become the biggest export business in history.

I certainly don’t want to equate business and religion but I believe that Jesus’ example can teach us a lot.

  • We have to treat our responsibilities seriously. Often what we should be doing is not what we want to do but if everyone did what they wanted and neglected their duty then society would collapse.
  • At some point we should follow our own destiny. As a person and as a business you need to figure out what your destiny is. Articulate it, write it down and go for it. Once you have set your face forward don’t look back.

As a country we have set ourselves two transcendent goals – to be the greenest economy in the Caribbean and Latin America and to be the #1 entrepreneurial hub in the world by 2020. Are we all on board with those goals? Do we understand what it will take to get us there? Are we helping to achieve these goals or are we looking to someone else to do it?

The environment is right for us to make major developments in the green industry in 2012. With the tax incentives announced in the 2011 budget and the high cost of fuel and electricity, this is the time to embrace energy efficiency and renewable energy.

One of the key pillars that will support us in becoming the #1 entrepreneurial hub in the world is a cultural shift in our mindset from focusing on reasons why we can’t to being willing to try something new. We will make mistakes but let us be flexible and as others have said “don’t let perfect get in the way of better”.

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