My wife and I recently spent a short break at The Crane Resort and Residences to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. While we have both known the owners for over three decades and visited the property many times, it was the first time we had stayed overnight or longer and as someone who knows how challenging the hospitality business can be at times no-one could not fairly applaud the transformation of a once 18 room hotel and its location.
Paul Doyle, his family and support staff have created a blissful holiday haven from what was a sleepy St. Philip backwater. As a result generated hundreds of new jobs in an area of limited employment opportunities directly and many more that financially benefit from the venture. This is why I remain doubtful that we sufficiently honour, support or encourage our existing and aspiring entrepreneurs and were very pleased to read that the effervescent Peter Boos now chairs the advisory board of the Barbados Entrepreneur Foundation (BEF).
With so many talented young people on Barbados it seems only logical that meaningful encouragement is given to them and hopefully, once and for all remove the many barriers and deterrents placed in their way. As Peter so graphically states ‘Until we get an environment that really encourages entrepreneurship, it’s not going to develop as well and as quickly as we would like’. Perhaps the answer lies more in the private sector, but surely there is much more our relatively new Government can do.
Clearly this view is shared as again quoting Mr. Boos ‘’So I think after a time the effort to try and engage Government effectively, despite several meetings and discussions and so on, nothing from that end came’.
Perhaps an example could be, I vividly recall many years ago the then Canadian Government seeing so many lost opportunities for products made in their country, which could be exported overseas, headhunted prominent members from the world of commerce and sent them abroad to spearhead trade delegations where the nation had an existing embassy or consulate.
Again, there must be an enormous wealth of knowledge, skills and proven ability within our business sector. And I don’t just mean at the mega- company status. Imagine even at the small business level, if an additional 5,000 new enterprises could be created. Of course some of them will fail or not reach potential, but that is life and it exists all around the planet.
As many of the larger commerce based entities continue to downsize, resize or whatever justification they give, more and more opportunities evolve which could, with proper guidance, soak up substantial unemployment and create taxes for Government.
We should not forget or learn from those who could envisage and were brave and determined enough to transform an ageing small hotel into one of our single largest foreign currency earners and employers.