A Government Minister has reiterated his plea that more has to be done to create an enabling environment for persons interested in becoming entrepreneurs, and has singled out Barbados??? educational system as a major stumbling block.

Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development, Donville Inniss, stated that too often entrepreneurs were ???frowned upon??? in this society, and more needed to be done in terms of celebrating and encouraging them.

Speaking recently at BANK ON ME???s Entrepreneurial Master Class and Awards Ceremony, held at the Savannah Hotel, Mr. Inniss surmised that our educational system needed to be reformed ???to the point where we have a class focusing solely on entrepreneurship within schools???.

???Within the Barbadian and West Indian context, we need really and truly to identify from an early age all the enabling environments for those who want to go out there and slug it out and work for themselves. I find too often that we put too many stumbling blocks in the way.

“With regard to our educational system, I don???t think it allows us to embrace Black entrepreneurship. If I had to make one suggestion it would be that our educational system needs to be reformed and engender a class of entrepreneurship,??? he continued. The Commerce Minister also lamented the treatment of those entrepreneurs who ???try and fail???.

???A guy who goes out there and decides he is going to start a business, three months into the business he writes a cheque and the Bank sends it back saying ???NSF???, which I believe stands for ???Not Sufficient Funds???, or it bounces, and right away that individual or that company goes into the bad books and we don???t want to do business with them again???sometimes without even having a conversation.

???I believe that we have to recognise in this society that there are those who try and try and try again until they eventually succeed and we can???t just kick someone down because they have failed the first time around,??? Mr. Inniss maintained.

Noting that when persons finally decided to pursue entrepreneurship a mentor would be an asset, the Minister cited the evening???s recipient of the Distinguished Entrepreneurship Award, seasoned businessman Rawle Brancker, as a prime example.

Meanwhile, renowned businessman and top Caribbean hotelier, Gordon ???Butch??? Stewart, who was one of the speakers at the Bank on ME???s Entrepreneurial Master Class and Awards Ceremony Season Two taping, advised the four contestants of the show to keep their enterprises simple, until they mastered other concepts.

Mr. Stewart, who is the owner of award-winning resorts in six Caribbean territories, said his first venture into business was as an air conditioner salesman.

???I had a little thing behind my desk, and every bill I got I put it back there, and every month I???d draw a cheque for every bill. I didn???t need an accountant. I might have got supplies from one company ten times; I gave them ten cheques. Keep it simple,??? he advised.

In explaining his reason for venturing into business, Stewart said: ???I think it is the eagerness to do something for yourself, [as] I never wanted a one-man business. I didn???t have a lot of money; I started with US$3,000. And, If I had to run the organisation that I run today, with the experience I had when I just started, I couldn???t do it,??? he added.


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