When it comes to addressing the “unemployment challenge” in Barbados, more of our youth must be encouraged to look towards entrepreneurship, as a viable means of supporting themselves and breaking the unemployment cycle.
Persons who are currently unemployed or even underemployed, cannot look solely to government, or even the private sector to be a saviour of sorts. Innovation and creativity must come to the fore and Barbadians must dig deep to find those hidden skills and talents they can lean on and turn a workable idea into an enterprise. That said, the relevant agencies and entities equipped to assist young people, especially in acquiring the required capital investment for a start-up or even adequate technical skills, must step up and do more, to ensure that more local youth can embrace entrepreneurship.
Entrepreneurship is not for the faint hearted, nor those who are easily deterred. Some youth are fully aware of this and they are only waiting for wings to fly. They would be ecstatic if they could really get a big break, to bring their idea into fruition. Perhaps we can have a programme which would see more of our successful entrepreneurs taking fledging entrepreneurs with good business plans and ideas under their wings, so they too can learn the ropes and create businesses that can aid in boosting the local economy or even bringing in some vital foreign exchange.
Perhaps local successful entrepreneurs can help youth desirous of walking a similar path, in honing their entrepreneurial skills, inclusive of their leadership skills. Why? Well, a study carried out at the University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus about three years ago, suggested that leadership is a critical ingredient to successful entrepreneurship.
The empirical study focused on the “The Perceptions of Leadership Qualities/Traits and Factors Predicting Business Success Among Youth in Barbados” and the findings suggested that key leadership traits for business success, as outlined by the youth studied, included traits that promote positivity, visioning and creativity, communication, flexibility and persistence. With regard to the study, it was noted that respondents suggested that the top five traits needed for starting a business, included having a positive mindset, creativity, vision, an ability to communicate and the ability to make difficult decisions. Respondents meanwhile said that the top five traits needed in actually managing a business were, the ability to influence people, strong mindedness, and low rigidity. For youth who were already in business, the information about these traits held true.
The top five reasons given by youth for business success meanwhile included proper business planning, sound business management, having an effective business strategy, effective leadership and sufficient capital or finance. On the other hand, the top five reasons given for business failure included poor management, insufficient capital, poor leadership, lack of proper business planning and poor customer service or relationships.
That said, it has been noted by prominent entrepreneurs in Barbados that young entrepreneurs who are already off to a good start, should plough back most of their profits back into their businesses, to allow them to grow. The hard earned profits should not be put into buying fancy cars and big houses.
If young budding entrepreneurs pay heed to some of these findings and the valuable advice given them, and the relevant agencies and right individuals work with them, we may see a few more successful entrepreneurs coming to the fore.