Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 30th 2015 Contents Q: I am a first-year university student
in Canada. I ve got a wonderful plan for
an online business, but my parents, who
are entrepreneurs in the Philippines, are
worried that I ll neglect my studies if I
pursue it. They sent me to Canada to
study, which is a heavy burden for them.
I m very passionate about my business
How do I persuade them to support me?
My mum was---and
still is---an entrepre-
neur, so I have
always had someone
to turn to when I
need advice. My
parents were always
the first people I consulted when I had a new
idea for a business. Luisa, you are very lucky,
since your mum and dad have already started
My mother s career was a huge influence
on mine, and you seem to be inspired by your
parents as well, but I understand that school
is also a big draw. I have always wanted to go
to university. When I was in my 40s, I even
considered taking a couple of years off to go
back to school. My wife talked me out of it
- earning a degree takes a lot of time, and I
simply wouldn t be able to study and continue
my work at Virgin.
Many people assume that young entrepre-
neurs must choose between continuing their
education and starting a business.
In reality, these two choices can coexist.
Universities should be encouraging students
to start businesses linked to their studies.
Especially in business programmes, professors
should be encouraged to foster an entrepre-
neurial spirit in the classroom.
Universities should offer guidance to stu-
dents who have launched businesses, helping
them toward success - budding entrepreneurs
shouldn t be forced to go it alone.
One way to help student entrepreneurs is
to make degree programs shorter. They are
far too long at present - for young students,
the first year is often wasted, and a three-year
programme could easily be completed within
two years. This would decrease students debt
loads and put them in a better position to
start their own businesses.
I m thrilled to hear that you re considering
launching your business despite the obstacles.
When you re talking with your parents about
it, keep in mind ---and convey to them---that
starting a business while attending university
can be a great decision.
College is an environment in which you re
always learning, and while many subjects
you re exposed to won t be directly relevant
to your business, you will learn to think crit-
The learning environment also provides stu-
dents with many opportunities to meet new
people and share ideas. This is a huge benefit:
the number of companies and lifetime friend-
ships that are formed in college is endless.
But, as you ve asked, how can you do this
without neglecting your studies?
While both your business and your studies
will require a lot of hard work, your study
hours will likely be quite flexible. And if you re
studying subjects that you re passionate about
and love, you won t mind putting in long hours
- you may really enjoy it.
Keep in mind that most new entrepreneurs
have some juggling to do, whether it is with
school, day jobs or child care. But the successful
ones create a plan of action that helps them
avoid getting sucked into working nonstop.
In your case, it might be easy to let time slip
away when you re knee-deep in an exciting
idea, so establish boundaries; allocate specific
days and times for your studies and others
for working on your startup. Be honest with
yourself about whether the launch will impact
your studies, and plan for that.
Have you considered looking for a local
mentor who can give you advice and keep you
on track? How about checking on whether
there is a club for entrepreneurs at your school?
A group like that could plug you into a helpful
peer network, and introduce you to other stu-
dents who are balancing study and work. (You
might also make friends with whom you can
bounce ideas around.)
You might also want to consider finding a
co-founder who can share the workload with
you. If you can show your parents that you re
not going to be doing everything on your own,
they might be reassured that your plan is a
After you ve sketched out your plan, show
it to your parents, and stress how much their
support means to you. Be honest with them
about how much time your business will
require, then discuss the steps you will take
to minimise the impact.
There s no better way to learn about time
management, problem-solving and good, old-
fashioned hard work than running a startup.
And if you pull this off, by the time you grad-
uate from college, you may own a small (and,
hopefully, thriving!) business. Good luck!
(Richard Branson is the founder of the Virgin
Group and companies such as Virgin Atlantic,
Virgin America, Virgin Mobile and Virgin Active.
He maintains a blog at www.virgin.com/richard-
branson/blog. You can follow him on Twitter at
twitter.com/richardbranson. To learn more about
the Virgin Group: www.virgin.com.)
(Questions from readers will be answered in
future columns. Please send them to Richard-
Branson@nytimes.com. Please include your name,
country, email address and the name of the web-
site or publication where you read the column.)
APRIL 2015 • WEEK FIVE www.guardian.co.tt BUSINESS GUARDIAN
COMMENTARY | BG13
REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS
Communication Agency to support EITI implementation in Trinidad and Tobago
The TTEITI Steering Committee invites suitably qualified
Communication Agencies to submit proposals to provide
communications support over a one year period. The Agency is
required to provide services and play a pivotal role in Trinidad
and Tobago's ongoing EITI implementation in three areas: (a)
EITI Report production, (b) Communications and Public
Awareness Campaigns and (c) Outreach Strategies. All interested
agencies are asked to submit their proposals by Friday 22nd
1. Production of a high quality EITI Report;
2. A communications strategy for a one year period;
3. A TTEITI Public Awareness Campaign;
4. Community outreach events in fence line communities and
youth outreach events
5. A Social Media Strategy and the creation of appropriate c
ontent to be uploaded on social media sites, including
Facebook, Linked-In, Twitter etc;
6. Quarterly TTEITI e-newsletters, aimed at all stakeholders;
7. The publication of EITI related articles at strategic points by
media outlets and engaging these outlets in the publication
of articles on the TTEITI's process;
8. Production of articles for publication in the print media or
institutional newsletters (from government and extractive
9. Preparation of speeches and Q&As for TTEITI leadership in
preparation for media interviews (as needed).
1. 5-10 years' experience in the area of Communications
including preparation of communication material;
2. A dedicated Key Account Manager that will be assigned to
oversee TTEITI Communication Activities;
3. Experience in managing communication and advocacy
projects for not-for-profit organisations;
4. Experience with stakeholder engagement with a range of
stakeholders including Government Officials and civil
society organizations/community based organizations and
the general public ;
5. Knowledge and awareness of the EITI and the TTEITI as
well as the extractive industries in Trinidad and Tobago;
6. In-house capacity or demonstrated outsourcing capacity to
undertake high volume publication of reports;
7. Demonstrated capacity to produce high quality, creative
and innovative communications materials on various
8. Experience of working with (and good contacts with)
media organizations and ability to leverage coverage from
Interested agencies may access the complete Terms of
Reference on the TTEITI website, www.tteiti.org.tt; or by
contacting the TTEITI Secretariat at firstname.lastname@example.org or at
623-6708 ext. 2787.
Studies, startups can go hand in hand
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