Minister of Foreign Affairs, Senator Maxine McClean in discussion with Chief Executive Officer of the Pinelands Creative Workshop, Rodney Grant at the closing ceremony of the workshop. (C.Pitt/BGIS)

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Maxine McClean, has advised aspiring entrepreneurs to look at social capital as an alternative instead of relying on government as the sole financier of their enterprises.

She made this suggestion last Friday while delivering the feature address at the closing ceremony of a Pinelands Creative Workshop, that was organized in collaboration with the Young Americas Business Trust and the Organization of American States. It was held at the University of the West Indies Open Campus, The Pine, St. Michael.

Emphasising that government was not the only source of financing, the Foreign Affairs Minister added: "We have to recognise the existence of what I would call social capital, which are the resources that reside around us.?? While you may look to government to finance businesses, you also have to look within your communities…When you start to break it down, you need to ask yourself how can I mobilise the finances? Maybe I can get a grant or loan from government…maybe I can go to some good school friends or relatives to sell the idea, or maybe I can bring other persons into the arrangement."

Speaking about the importance of cultural enterprises Senator Mcclean told participants that there was "much scope for engagement in such endeavours. "At the end of the day, one of the things that we have to recognise is that the very elements of our existence, of our cultural expression … creative sectors, creative industries, cultural enterprises and cultural entrepreneurship, you have to recognise that if you are talking about cultural enterprises, these are part of a broader category of enterprises called creative enterprises because you are focusing largely on expressions of culture," she added.

Senator McClean further stated: "Therefore, as you look beyond these shores, there are a number of forces which facilitate [our ability to compete overseas] in ways that we could not before. In recent times, there has been the global recognition of the value of creativity and people have already begun to see the benefits of commercialisation.

Even though Barbados lacked natural resources, we have been able to tap into the creativity and the minds of its people in order to solve a number of critical problems."

Given this situation, the Foreign Affairs Minister urged the participants to be creative in the way they combined their financial support structures and to seek out opportunities under the Economic Partnership Agreement and other instruments.

"As you work through your ideas and seek out funding, there are many resources out there which you can tap to assist you with fleshing out your ideas, finding strategic partners and getting assistance with breaking into new markets.


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