CARIBBEAN ENTREPRENEURSHIP CHALLENGE BOOT CAMP OPENS IN BARBADOS
Young people gathered in Barbados for a leadership and innovative entrepreneurship boot camp have been advised to see their business as a lifestyle and not a job, and to commit to seeing their vision realized.
The advice to 26 young people from 11 Caribbean countries, came as the group began the three-day Caribbean Young Leaders Entrepreneurship Boot Camp Friday, May 1, 2015, at the Christ Church Parish Church Centre.
The participants were the winners chosen from among more than 70 entrepreneurs, aged 18 to 29, who submitted innovative proposals to the Caribbean Call to Action Entrepreneurship Challenge sent out by the Global Leadership Coalition (GLC), A Million for A Billion (1M1B), and the Caribbean Centre of Excellence for Sustainable livelihoods (CoESL).
Guest speaker at the opening ceremony, attorney-at-law and former Minister of Commerce Lynette Eastmond, urged the entrepreneurs to trust each other, eliminate negative and discriminatory language and behaviour, and work together to come up with ideas and take action rather than complain about challenges or stumbling blocks.
The concept that entrepreneurship is more than just a way to make money was echoed by Co-founder of A Million for A Billion (1M1B), Manav Subodh; Managing Director of CoESL, Marcia Brandon; and Global Youth Ambassador and CEO and Co-Founder of Nanostar AMP Group Incorporated, Hashim Ruan.
Mr Subodh told the young people that entrepreneurship starts from having “a very strong vision of what your life is for [and] what would you like to stand up for“.
“Entrepreneurship is a calling, not a job . . . Once you get your calling, you won’t talk about a job,” he said.
Mrs Brandon stressed the importance of not concentrating solely on generating profits.
“A lot times we focus so much on money that we overlook people, and the value of people can never ever be overstated. You shouldn’t get caught up in constantly looking at profits and not looking at learning how to do things so you can make profits,” she told the attentive participants.
In his address to the boot campers, Mr Ruan told them that “business is a lifestyle” and they had to be committed to doing what was necessary, despite the challenges they faced.
Speaking from experience, he said: “You have to make up your mind to be a no-matter-what person; that no matter what it takes, no matter how long the road may seem or how tough the obstacles, you have a remember one thing – that you were born for a reason and God has a plan for your life.”
“You must understand your limits and learn to crawl first, then walk; flying is up to you,” he further advised.
Mr Ruan also urged the young entrepreneurs to look beyond just making money, stressing that if they were not making someone else’s life better in their endeavours, they were wasting time.
GLC co-founder Mary Symmonds acknowledged the volunteer business mentors for the boot camp sessions – Marcia Brandon, Ashley John, Shawna Rollins, Ann Cutting and Michelle Boisselle-Morris.
She thanked them for taking time out of their busy schedules to give back to the young entrepreneurs.
“That’s the way we build each other,” she said.
At the end of the boot camp, 10 semifinalists will be chosen to be mentored over a four-month period and will be provided with entrepreneurship training for two months.
Two finalists will then be selected to showcase their work at a side event alongside the UN Conference in Sustainable Development in September 2015.