Entrepreneur Corner

entrepreneurshipBarbados continues to grapple with the challenge to sustain its cost of living in harsh economic times. One avenue which is a historical fact is the significant contribution which Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) contribute to economies, especially those which are successful. BU hopes bloggers will post submissions, ideas, feedback about how we can fan the flame of entrepreneurship to the Entrepreneur Corner.

Thanks to Moneybrain for this idea.

103 comments

  • David,
    The HDI is self-reporting, it is not an objective metric. It is the same as claiming that Barbados has 9 per cent literacy. We are so desperate to punch above out 166sq ml weight that anyone comparing us to global standing gets us excited. Why is our university not in the global 5000? And why do Mona, St Augustine and Cave Hill score differently in global university rankings?

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  • 98 per cent

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  • The HDI is self-reporting, it is not an objective metric.
    …………………………………………………………………………………..

    …….it was objective enough for the agencies in Washington to refuse grant funds based on our developed country status.

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  • "…..the amount of funding has grown. Peru now boasts a whopping $100 million fund to promote micro, small and medium-sized enterprises; the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) loaned $40 million USD toward the fund, with the Peruvian Ministry of Finance putting in $60 million USD. Even more, The World Bank approved a $45 million USD loan earlier this year for the development of science, technology, and innovation in Peru…"

    So what was the turning point for the ecosystem? Most notably, the government began to invest in innovation. Ministry of Production initiative Startup Peru was launched in 2012, with an objective to promote the emergence of Peruvian startups and innovative products. Just this year, 837 projects applied for seed capital from Startup Peru — of those, 106 ventures were chosen to receive the equivalent of $5,000, $46,000 and $153,000 USD in funding.

    There’s also Innovate Peru, which the Ministry of Innovation launched in 2014. Its goal is to strengthen companies, entrepreneurs and support systems within the Peruvian ecosystem, and facilitate collaboration between them through dozens of specific funds — such as offering money for scientific equipment at institutions, or high-impact projects for the Peruvian economy, society or environment.

    And over the years, the amount of funding has grown. Peru now boasts a whopping $100 million fund to promote micro, small and medium-sized enterprises; the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) loaned $40 million USD toward the fund, with the Peruvian Ministry of Finance putting in $60 million USD. Even more, The World Bank approved a $45 million USD loan earlier this year for the development of science, technology, and innovation in Peru.

    Additionally, Lima is currently working with the MIT Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Program — a two-year initiative that works with local government, academia, investors, entrepreneurs and corporations to develop an actionable framework for strengthening innovative and entrepreneurial ecosystems.

    Other notable players in the ecosystem include Universidad del Pacifico, where much of the tech talent arises, Peru’s first accelerator Wayra, accelerator Endeavour Peru, as well as 10 other accelerators and incubators in the community.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/08/10/peru-is-on-a-bid-to-catch-up-with-its-innovative-latin-american-neighbors/

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  • David,
    We need a Govt that understands how to manage and encourage Development and Growth. It starts with the correct environment in terms of Attitude, Work Ethic, Education—Excellence must be our mantra. This is why the easy peasy Corruption environment must die because it filters down to too high a proportion of the populace and then few want to work, take risk / invest time, money, energy etc.

    We must insist on a non-partisan approach to solving the future or not the future may not be too bright.

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  • @Money Brain

    Nurturing the entrepreneurial culture in Barbados will be difficult given where we have come from i.e. wholesale retail way of doing business. Our school structure is primarily based on a traditional approach etc etc etc. We have our work cutout although it is not impossible. We should have used the economic crisis of the last 7 years a lot better to force transformation.

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  • David,
    Exactly, it has to be thoroughly thought out but it is very broad Economic Planning and ACTION. Not just BS discussion for the sake of talk. Bim is worth saving but proper Comprehensive planning, strategic direction and Action must be conducted immediately.
    Education wise Bajans should learn from Canada’s mistakes of over emphasising Uni, instead of what makes sense for the individual and Nation’s needs.

    Canada has an oversupply of Uni Grads with bogus degrees, who are unemployed whereas there is a dearth of Plumbers who make $ hundreds of thousands per year. Prestige does not get you pass the checkout counter legally. Fully 25% of Uni grads go on to Technical College having wasted the People’s $$$$$$ learning garbage—so instead of 4 yrs they spend 6-7 yrs in order to start making a living.—WASTE.

    How can UWI not produce enough Accountants for Bim’s needs ? Ridiculous!

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  • We have some of the best sillica sands at Springfield Sand Mine St.Joseph.

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  • Our UWI could be looking at wind&solar energy,self powered cars,etc,etc

    Go students!
    Dutch Students Design Biodegradable Electric Car
    Students in the Netherlands have built a biodegradable electric car that …
    ecowatch.com

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  • Legalise ganja and start growing it.

    He knows a business opportunity when he sees it.
    This former minister expects to make $22 million next year selling marijuana
    He smoked pot in high school, but that was a long time ago.
    cnbc.com|By CNBC
    http://cnb.cx/2hLklvk

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  • @Vincent

    Do you know if the UWI, Cave Hill has done anything with the land at Dukes that was donated by the Edghills?

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  • David&MB

    My point with the above examples of doable and achievable projects for Bim was to show that all is required is the will to do it.

    …presently a youngster does exquisite glass figurines using that sand

    ….why cannot Headley’s energy at UWI be replicated

    …..We have a number boys inside and out of Dodds who are self taught in the production of this herb…….we have loads of land under cow itch and mossie that needs a cash crop which can be rotated with sugar cane.

    I agree with MB that the theoretical focus of UWI needs to undergo a dramatic change and not to creating auditors as that was originally for BIMAP and the Community college.

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  • David

    Not a word about that land at Dukes……..who knows these former plantation lands like the ones at Dodds maybe awaiting approval for use as agricultural lands……with this govt all things are possible.

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  • Hopefully it will not go the way of the solar research started by the late Oliver Headley.

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  • Of course the challenge in Barbados is that startups are stigmatized and there is limited opportunity for venture capital.

    Job Creation Is Done By Startups: Wolfgang Will, Senior Director, South Asia, Lufthansa Group

    Entrepreneurship is the driving force of the Indian economy. We at Lufthansa feel privileged to be at the heart of this nationwide movement celebrating entrepreneurship, says Will

    http://businessworld.in/article/Job-Creation-Is-Done-By-Startups-Wolfgang-Will-Senior-Director-South-Asia-Lufthansa-Group/26-08-2017-124847/

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  • CIBC mulls offering Caribbean subsidiary on U.S. stock markets Globe&Mail Dec 13 2017

    Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce is considering listing its Caribbean banking subsidiary on U.S. stock markets, seeking options to redeploy resources away from a region that has been known as a risky place to do business.

    Canada’s fifth-largest bank has a long history in the Caribbean, with interests in Barbados and Jamaica dating back to the 1920s, and now owns nearly 92 per cent of FirstCaribbean International Bank. But CIBC has more recently turned the focus of its international strategy to the United States, where it acquired Chicago-based PrivateBancorp Inc. for $5-billion (U.S.) earlier this year.

    The prospect of publicly listing FirstCaribbean, a Barbados-based lender that does business in 17 countries, is still a work in progress. But it would provide a new way for FirstCaribbean to raise funds, freeing CIBC to redirect capital to other priority areas across North America. Reuters first reported the possibility that CIBC might list its Caribbean arm in New York.

    “FirstCaribbean is considering a potential stock market listing in the U.S., the world’s deepest capital market,” said CIBC spokeswoman Caroline Van Hasselt, in an e-mailed statement.

    “While no decisions have been made, such a listing would provide CIBC FirstCaribbean with access to a larger investor base, enhanced liquidity, and greater access to capital to support long-term growth.”

    Caribbean banking has suffered from a challenging economic environment of late, compounded by a recent series of hurricanes that battered the region’s infrastructure, adding to CIBC’s loan losses. And at times, the region has proven to be a reputational minefield for some banks, prompting other lenders such as Royal Bank of Canada to pull out, though Bank of Nova Scotia maintains a robust Caribbean presence.

    In recent years, CIBC was rumoured to have considered selling its Caribbean unit, but reportedly struggled to find interested buyers. Instead, CIBC began restructuring FirstCaribbean in 2013, and took a $420-million (Canadian) goodwill writedown in 2014, while setting aside $123-million to cover soured loans. Further restructuring charges followed in 2015, by which point the bank had cut its work force by roughly 15 per cent and consolidated back offices.

    Under current chief executive officer Gary Brown, who took over at the start of 2016, FirstCaribbean has made some strides and begun tidying up a once-shaky loan book. The lender now accounts for about a third of CIBC’s gross impaired loans, after accounting for more than half only two years ago.

    But in the meantime, CIBC’s priorities have shifted, prompting a need for flexibility in its capital deployment as it seeks to build a more competitive U.S. footprint on the strength of private banking and wealth management.

    The former PrivateBancorp, newly renamed CIBC Bank USA after merging with CIBC, contributed $57-million (U.S.) in profit during the three months that ended Oct. 31, marking one of the best quarterly results the bank has had. But CIBC is in the process of rebuilding its capital levels after the deal, having paid a steep price for PrivateBancorp following a year-long courtship. CIBC’s common equity tier 1 (CET1) ratio stood at 10.6 per cent at fiscal year-end, down from 11.3 per cent a year earlier.

    In a previous interview, CIBC CEO Victor Dodig said he aims to build “one of the most prominent business banks in North America,” with the U.S. arm contributing a quarter of CIBC’s profits. And that could require further investments, similar to CIBC’s July deal to buy private wealth management firm Geneva Advisors for up to $200-million.

    The option to pursue a public listing of FirstCaribbean would open an avenue through which CIBC could gradually reduce its stake or leave the Caribbean altogether. But there’s no guarantee a public listing would signal a hard exit.

    “We continuously review our business and if and when decisions are made, they may be subject to regulatory approvals, and stakeholders are advised as appropriate,” Ms. Van Hasselt said.

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  • Another interesting piece, in light of the public debt owned by banks.

    How badly does CIBC want to solve its Caribbean problem? Globe&Mail Dec 13 2017

    From the moment he took over as chief executive officer, Victor Dodig confronted a nagging problem: What to do with FirstCaribbean, CIBC’s troubled unit based in Barbados?

    The division had been a slow-burning fire inside the bank for several years. That fire became a blaze right before he was named CEO in September, 2014.

    In May of that year, CIBC took a $420-million writedown on the division, and by the end of that fiscal year, more than half of CIBC’s total gross impaired loans – that is, loans the bank believed would likely not be repaid – were housed in a tiny cluster of sun-drenched islands. Meanwhile, the division contributed only 4 per cent profit of the bank’s total revenue.

    This week, investors finally got some insight into what Mr. Dodig might do, with CIBC confirming it is weighing whether to spin off FirstCaribbean and list it on a U.S. stock exchange, which would allow it to reduce its nearly 92-per-cent stake.

    The crucial question is whether investors will show any love. The odds seem long: A U.S. listing could be a hard sell. Jamaica’s National Commercial Bank tried something similar, but ultimately pulled the offering in 2016.

    CIBC has tried an outright sale of FirstCaribbean but got nowhere. Talks with Trinidad-based Republic Bank resulted in nothing but lowball offers, according to people familiar with the negotiations. The U.S. spinoff seems like a last-ditch effort.

    FirstCaribbean is certainly in much better shape than it was. The bank started slashing costs a few years back by consolidating back offices and shedding close to 15 per cent of its work force. Once Mr. Dodig took over the parent bank, he sent Gary Brown down to Barbados to do even more heavy lifting – the assumption being that Mr. Brown would polish FirstCarribean for a sale after his success unloading some U.S. capital markets businesses to Oppenheimer in 2007. He also helped clean up CIBC’s structured credit portfolio during the financial crisis.

    Last year FirstCaribbean posted a $142-million (U.S.) profit, and gross impaired loans have fallen to one-third of CIBC’s total. Its thinly-traded shares are up almost 40 per cent since the start of 2016 on the Barbados Stock Exchange.

    But how much better can things get? New investors are going to want to see some upside, and growth prospects aren’t encouraging.

    Revenue growth at FirstCaribbean has been effectively nil for five years, and Canadian competitors Royal Bank of Canada and Bank of Nova Scotia, who also operate in the region, have admitted it’s tough going down there. Scotiabank has quietly been getting rid of troubled loans, and some are rumoured to be going for 10 to 20 cents on the dollar, according to a person familiar with the sales.

    The roots of these troubles spread wide. To name a few: Trinidad, a big economic hub, has major exposure to plummeting gas prices because of its offshore production; hurricanes have ravaged a number of countries; and sweeping cost cuts are hard to enact because bank operations are spread out across multiple countries, each with its own government, and the workforce is largely unionized.

    FirstCaribbean is particularly challenged by its home base of Barbados. The country’s tourist dollars have returned somewhat from their post-financial crisis lows, but the local economy is still in rough shape. In September, Standard & Poor’s downgraded the country’s debt rating to CCC, deep in junk territory.

    Because the debt rating is so weak and foreign investors have shied away, the government is having trouble funding itself. Its answer has been to put more pressure on local banks, and come January, they will be required to hold 20 per cent of their domestic deposits in government securities.

    That’s especially troubling because the risk of a debt restructuring in Barbados is quite high. Should it happen, a best-case scenario might involve extending the debt terms by a few years, meaning the banks wouldn’t get their money back for a longer period. But there’s a chance there will be a significant haircut on the value of these government securities, which would wipe out some of the banks’ deposit base.

    Regulatory risks loom, too. In 2015 allegations emerged that FirstCaribbean may have been used to help facilitate an illegal payment to an executive at FIFA, soccer’s governing body, and earlier this month Barbados was added to European Union’s list of tax havens, a collection of countries that the EU argues does not do enough to stop tax avoidance programs.

    Despite all that, CIBC should be relieved that FirstCaribbean currently turns a solid profit: $142-million in net income is not something to shrug at, considering that Chicago-based PrivateBancorp, which it bought for $5-billion, posted a $208-million profit in 2016. But the Caribbean is a market with much lower potential than the U.S. Midwest.

    It could be that CIBC gets a deal done by trying to spin off the asset for cheap. It just depends how badly Mr. Dodig and the board want this problem solved.

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  • Dodig must be looking over his shoulders at his Bay St. rivals and realize that RBC is catching up and may soon surpass CIBC in share price. RBC is trading at the $100.00 (CAD) mark while CIBC is about $120.00 up from approx. $114.00 in recent days. The value of RBC shares are increasing at a faster rate than CIBC, ( RBC had a stock split in 2006 while CIBC’s last split was 1997) perhaps Dodig doesn’t want the ignominy of seeing RBC shares surpass CIBC on his watch given such a head start. The top dogs on Bay St. are not lacking for egos.

    Bottom line CIBC may jettison the local arm and focus on other markets (mainly US) it went the electronic route (in the US ) a few years ago but it was ahead of the market, it seems to have changed its strategy with the most recent acquisition. CIBC bought Barclays assets a few years ago now it looks like it may follow Barclays lead and exit the region and reduce the footprint of the Canadian Banks in the area.

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  • An article on ruling by the SCC on the liability of auditors.
    An issue that BT frequently has referenced.

    The actual ruling itself can be located by a link within the article, or via this…https://scc-csc.lexum.com/scc-csc/scc-csc/en/item/16920/index.do

    https://beta.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/supreme-court-says-livent-auditors-liable-but-sets-conditions/article37393018/

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  • Beyond his amazing business success after dropping out of school when he was 15, Richard Branson is unusual. He is unafraid of controversy while managing to live without regrets, as his mother taught him. And in a new interview on Freakonomics Radio released today, he ups the ante.

    Forget the M.B.A., and even basic business basic savvy like knowing the difference between net and gross if you want to be a successful entrepreneur. There’s something far more important to understand: people. If you can trust, inspire, promote, and work with people, you can do amazing things. Here are some of Branson’s points.

    Put yourself out of business.
    Some people are meant to be entrepreneurs and others are far better suited to other roles. “I actually believe that people should delegate early on in their businesses, so they can start thinking about the bigger picture,” Branson said, advising that entrepreneurs should find people as good or better than themselves. “Put yourself out of business, and let them get on and run your business day to day.” When you do, you free yourself to focus on bigger issues and even start other businesses. Plus, many of the people you find will be much better at particular jobs than you would ever be.
    Business terminology is not the most important thing.
    Branson said that he was 50 before he understood the terms net and gross, and it took someone drawing a picture with crayons of an ocean, fish, and a net to get it across. “But the bizarre thing is that by then we had the biggest group of private companies in Europe,” he said. Knowing terminology isn’t so important. “What matters is, you know, have you created the best company, the best airline, or the best record company? And if you have created the best, your figures will add up at the end of the year, and you’ll have more money coming in than going out, and you can employ some accountants to work out the difference between net and gross.”
    Business professionalism is fine for MBAs.
    There’s nothing wrong with professional management in companies. But entrepreneurs are different. “They need a passion, absolute passion for what they’re doing,” Branson said. “They need an absolute belief in what they’re doing. They need to be wonderful motivators of people.” He also said, “If you’ve got a happy, motivated group of people you’re working with, you can achieve anything.”
    Treat employees like family.
    Companies get nowhere through fear and intimidation. “If you treat your people badly, they’re not going to go that extra mile when things get tough,” Branson said. Instead, treat them like family. “I mean a lot of our time we spend at work, and work should be fun. It should be enjoyable. And you should also have policies that follow through with that.” Let employees work from home, take time off, and otherwise have flexibility to make adult decisions so they can do their work and live their lives. Branson has found that people don’t take advantage of the attitude because they feel trusted, and so treat the company well in return.
    Give people a chance.
    Branson has been unusual in his support of former convicts by given them jobs and opportunities. “Because we give them that trust, not one of them have ever re-offended,” he said. “And somebody who will do everything they can for the company because the company has given them that second chance.”
    Promote from within.
    Branson’s preference to promote from within, including CEOs, is actually solid management theory these days. “I think there’s nothing more discouraging for, say, a thousand people who work in a company for a so-called expert to be brought in from outside,” he said. “And generally, if you can’t find a good CEO within a thousand people in a company, there’s something wrong in the first place. You should have deputies who are quite capable of stepping into the CEO’s position.”
    Put women in charge.
    Not that Branson places women as CEOs just because they’re women. But he recognizes talent and uses it. “I mean, you know, women are a breath of fresh air actually, in most areas,” he said. “So I think we need to kick start it, it needs to be forced on companies. … I think there’s a danger that men will continue to appoint men.”

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  • Dr. Simple Simon

    Sounds a lot like “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”

    That said, I have know a lot of people who left jobs not because hey could not do or did not like the work or could not do it, not because they were not willing and able to work hard, not because the pay was too small, but because supervisors/managers/owners cchose to use the fear and intimidation thingy.

    In all cases the employees gave as little notice as legally required–sometimes giving the notice while on vacation far far away–lol!, and in all cases went on to do excellent work other places.

    I mean if my employer is treating me like @hit, like a good passive/agressive Bajan, I arrange my annual leave, I go far far away, and email in my notice. I return to work on a Monday 3 or 4 weeks later. Do a good day’s work, then pick up my bag and leave, straight into my new job Tuesday morning.

    Nah ya int getting me to spend a minute helping to select or train the new fella.

    Why would I do that for you?

    Idiots.

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  • Here are some good role models for business.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=226&v=37SNRJh6peU

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  • https://qz.com/1120344/200-universities-just-launched-600-free-online-courses-heres-the-full-list/

    Link to Uni courses–the Business section is lower down scroll.

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  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ThOyMiKy1E

    Bajan Battery King entrepreneurial thinking in London, UK.

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