OFFICIAL ADDRESS IN OBSERVANCE OF GLOBAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP WEEK 2020
by Hon Wendy Phipps
Fellow Citizens and Residents of St. Kitts and Nevis:
From November 16-22, 2020, our Federation will be joining about 180 countries in the celebration of Global Entrepreneurship Week 2020. This international observance, which was started in 2008 by the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN), is meant to showcase the importance of entrepreneurship to economic development, job growth, creativity, innovation and wealth creation. Global Entrepreneurship Week is also intended to turn on young people, in particular, to make a name for themselves by transposing their ideas into viable businesses which can be scaled to suit their capacity, market conditions and consumer preferences for the goods and services being offered for sale.
Before I proceed in discussing the themes for Global Entrepreneurship
Week 2020 I think it wise to first answer the question as to “What defines an entrepreneur? A basic definition of an entrepreneur is: an individual who recognises a need or gap, develops a business idea to fill that need or gap, and has willingly taken considerable, calculated risks in starting that business, with the aim of earning profits from it. Much of the profits earned are reinvested back into the business to ensure its growth and sustainability. Some business development experts have posited, repeatedly, that while entrepreneurship is a sure path to wealth creation, it certainly takes guts or intestinal fortitude. This assessment would be accurate, given that even with the best business and marketing plans, the right business environment, sufficient start-up capital, a broad customer base and good staff selection, every entrepreneur recognises that the success of his or her business venture requires extreme patience, self-sacrifice, wisdom, adaptability and the discipline to forego quick, personal gain until the business enters a reasonably strong state of profitability. It is the absence of these entrepreneurial qualities that result in so many business failures we see today. Most of these failures often occur within the first five years of starting a business.
The Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN) has chosen some four themes for the 2020 observance of Global Entrepreneurship Week. These themes are focused on “Education, Ecosystems, Inclusion and Policy”. I will now share briefly the respective rationale for each of these:
EDUCATION: which teaches and exposes people to the world of entrepreneurship, regardless of their age, gender, race, creed or geographic location. Education in the area of entrepreneurship would be inclusive of business start-up requirements, the skill sets and knowledge base necessary to ensure business success; financial management basics; pitfalls to avoid in business set-up, growth and development; and the roadmap to accessing finance, among other matters.
ECOSYSTEMS: refers to the environments in which businesses operate. For businesses to thrive – particularly start-ups, they need a business-friendly environment in which to grow their business. Such an economic environment or ecosystem provides the available, skilled labour force; space for the business to be set-up and grow – even if they begin in your garage; tax concessions that facilitate the investment in equipment, machinery, stock, office supplies and suitable vehicles; access to finance at reasonable rates of interest; availability of raw materials if the entity is engaged in manufacturing; and collaboration and partnership between the business sector and government in order to realise a win-win situation regarding the creation of wealth, payment of applicable taxes, the existence of pro-business legislation, and ease of doing business.
INCLUSION: assumes that the voice of the entrepreneur is considered in community and national development initiatives and that the entrepreneur will have meaningful partnerships and relationships with the communities in which they exist. Such inclusiveness can spawn creativity, wealth creation, and the development of pro-business policies that increase the competitiveness of the jurisdiction wherein the businesses exist. It is this competitive advantage that attracts even more business to the area and creates even more jobs that can be classified as decent work. Programmes geared towards inclusiveness include workshops, business fora, conferences, trade shows and national economic consultations.
POLICY: as the word suggests, successful entrepreneurship is built upon positive policies geared towards business development and expansion. Entrepreneurship can only exist in the optimal form in a business environment whose policies and laws are neither not punitive nor stifling so that they encourage and facilitate business growth. These policies span the gamut of tax and employment regulations; investment in Information, Communications and Technology (ICT) infrastructure; progressive laws that allow businesses to grow while protecting the environment for future generations; and other developmental imperatives to business, including corporate social responsibility (CSR).
It must be stated that these four themes, namely Education, Ecosystems, Inclusion and Policy easily dovetail into our own national, long-term theme for Global Entrepreneurship Week which our Federal Ministry of International Trade has established as its mantra for the sustainable development of our Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME) Sector.
This long-term theme is: ““No One Must be Left Behind: Creating
Sustainable Livelihoods for All, Through Entrepreneurship.” Simply
put, the Ministry of International Trade/ SBDC is committed to facilitating business development in the Federation through every possible avenue that creates wealth, business growth, economic development and national competitiveness. With this business-friendly support system in place, our people will be empowered to live more independent lives, be less reliant on others for their source of employment and income, while creating work for the local labour force that is sustainable throughout the life course. When this is achieved everybody wins, namely, the entrepreneur, the workforce, the private sector, the local communities, Government and our future generations.
Among the major events planned by the Ministry of International Trade, Commerce, Consumer Affairs and Labour for the 2020 observance of Global Entrepreneurship Week are the following:
Sunday, November 15th – Official Address by the Minister to Launch the Week of Activities;
Tuesday, November 17th – Special Edition of Leadership Matters, Live on ZIZ Television, starting at 8 p.m.;
Wednesday, November 18th – participation in Winn FM’s “Youth Beat” radio programme, which starts at 8:00 p.m., featuring the young entrepreneurs behind Farm Grow Box from Nevis, J Black Productions and Pineapple Summers from St. Kitts;
Friday, November 16th – Hosting of the Talk Show
“Entrepreneurship Speaks”, at Caribbean Confederation Credit Union (CCCU) Headquarters, at Fortlands, Basseterre, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.; the panellists include young entrepreneurs, business consultants and entertainers.
The Ministry of International Trade, Commerce, Consumer Affairs and Labour congratulates all entrepreneurs in the Federation for their ongoing commitment to business development, economic participation, risk-taking, and job creation, particularly during this time of great economic uncertainty and hardship created by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Ministry also encourages the public to actively support the local activities that have been planned in observance of Global Entrepreneurship Week 2020.
I sincerely thank the organisers and participants of all our national activities meant to showcase Global Entrepreneurship Week 2020. Special mention must be made of the Director of Industry and Commerce/ Small Business Development Centre (SBDC), Mr Phillip Browne and his staff – in particular, Mr Delwayne Delaney – for their support and partnership with our GEN host, the Caribbean Centre for Excellence for Sustainable Livelihoods (COESL).
Commendations are also in order for the Ministry’s local partners at the Department of Youth. I wish the organisers every success in their endeavours and urge the public to support these efforts that are meant to increase awareness, give voice to the challenges of small business owners and the pitfalls to be avoided, and showcase the major importance of entrepreneurship to national development. I also encourage all citizens
with an enterprising spirit to follow their hearts, to seek wise counsel and entrepreneurship education before they embark on starting the business of their dreams, to avail themselves of the suite of business support services available within the Ministry of International Trade/SBDC, and to access the tax concessions provided for their benefit under the Small Business Development Act (No. 24 of 2009) and other applicable Government policies.
Citizens and Residents of St. Kitts and Nevis, I am honoured to declare Global Entrepreneurship Week 2020 officially open.