Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 29th 2015 Contents SBG16 ENTREPRENOMICS
SUNDAY BUSINESS GUARDIAN www.guardian.co.tt NOVEMBER 29 • 2015
November was the month for
entrepreneurs and entrepre-
neurship. In case you missed
the action, there were three
main events celebrating
entrepreneurship. Each one
highlighted the growing hunger for entrepre-
neurship and, by extension, people s desire to
gain independence and financial security. The
world over celebrated Global Entrepreneurship
Week (GEW), the Global Entrepreneurship
Monitor (GEM) was released and a group local
enterprising women pioneered the start of
Women s Entrepreneurship Day (WED).
Global Entrepreneurship Week
One of the biggest event globally is GEW
and the host for Trinidad is the Chaguanas-
based Youth Business of T&T (YBTT), which
is an accredited member of YBI (Youth Business
International). YBTT s role is to encourage the
18-35 year old group to start businesses, assist
with training, providing mentorship (a business
coach) and financing. They had a number of
events through the country in partnership with
UWI s Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School Biz
Booster, Civilian Conservation Corp., Junior
Achievement, NEDCO, UTT and others.
Global Entrepreneurship Monitor
UWI s Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of
Business released the latest GEM report, which
is an international survey of more than 100
countries and, this year, again T&T was studied.
The news about Trinidad is somewhat mixed;
entrepreneurship is viewed positively by the
population as many budding entrepreneurs
weren t held back by confidence or fear. Accord-
ing to the GEM report "the biggest enablers
of entrepreneurship in T&T are its physical
infrastructure, professional infrastructure, and
entrepreneurial education provided at vocational
and university level."
On the other side, the report says, "the
biggest constraints on entrepreneurship are
government policies, entrepreneurial education
at lower levels and the transfer of R&D". It
continues by saying that this country needs
to focus more on high growth and innovative
businesses. I guess no more mini-marts and
doubles vendors. The reports suggest if eco-
nomic transformation is to happen, the nature
of entrepreneurial activity needs to change
(something for the policy makers to think
GEM says that established business own-
ership in this country is 11 per cent, the average
entrepreneur is male, 25-34 years of age, with
a secondary school education, who has financed
his $10,000 to $20,000 business through per-
sonal savings. However, on a global scale,
women entrepreneurs have closed the gender
gap by six per cent since 2013 on a global scale.
Women Entrepreneurship Day
For the first time, the women had their say
with an event celebrating entrepreneurship at
the Radisson Hotel. The event was organised
with help from the Entrepreneurship Pro-
gramme for Innovation in the Caribbean
(EPIC), partly funded by the Government of
Canada and implemented by infoDev (a global
entrepreneurship program in the World Bank
Georgina Terry, author of The Amazing Race
To Entrepreneurial Freedom, was one of the
organisers and said that WED was now cel-
ebrated in 144 countries and in 10 Caribbean
nations. A number of women guest speakers
had tonnes of useful advice for women and
Allana Steuart of Bertie s offered an inter-
esting story of how her family got into the
pepper sauce business. One day they found
that their yardman had no fridge and found
it unbelievable that in 2004 this could be so.
Appalled by that finding, they decided to do
fundraising and wanted something different
from BBQ and Curry Q events. She and Bertie
(husband) said they will produce pepper sauce
that many had complimented her on. Together
with their four children they filled 600 bottles
of pepper sauce and, using their home as a
factory, sold it and they finally raised the cash
to assist their gardener.
The story did not end there as many were
asking for more, including two international
restaurant chains. Their home soon became
a factory and warehouse. There was the chal-
lenge of living among boxes, labels and bottles.
Despite the issue of sourcing quality papers
and packaging, the business has now grown
out of their home. Bertie s can be found in
TGI Fridays and other leading supermarkets.
And it all started from concern and caring
from one woman.
The next speaker by video was Kiran
Maharaj, CEO of Caribbean Lifestyle Com-
munications (97 FM, 104FM and Radio 90.5).
She advised female entrepreneurs to be imag-
inative in their marketing, take risks to grow,
be observant about your environment and be
a knowledge sponge; soak up as much as pos-
sible. Most of all she says, women need to
believe in themselves.
The event also had HR entrepreneur, Lara
Quentrall-Thomas, founder of Regency
Recruitment and Resources. Some of her clients
include international names like GE, bpTT
and IBM. She started her business in her
father s home and was a one-person operation
at the beginning. Her experience with her staff
was quite interesting. Millennials who comprise
about half her staff, were more frank and not
afraid to ask pointed questions. Her suggestion
is to always treat your staff as customers, as
who never know where they will end up.
Quentrall-Thomas as a master networker,
had some nuggets for budding entrepreneurs
prospecting for clients.
"Since you cannot advertise as big compa-
nies do, you should join a chamber or pro-
fessional associations. This is a cheap way to
meet business clients. If you can t find an
association, then start one," she advised. Then
there are numerous networking sessions that
are free, but open to the public. She suggests
you always ask a question with a small intro-
duction of your company. If you don t have
a question, then offer thanks.
Quentrall-Thomas had some interesting HR
strategies to keep your employees happy. What
about two days off per week? If they work
extra for three days, there is no need for time
off to do personal stuff and a great initiative
to avoid the Port-of-Spain traffic. She advised
guests to delegate. This has allowed her to do
social work as a past rotary club president.
Mia Redrick joined the WED by Skype from
Maryland and she had the unusual title of The
Mom Strategist. Redrick is the author of best-
sellers, Time for Mom-Me:5 Essential Strategies
for A Mother s Self-Care and Time for Mom-
Me: 365 Daily Strategies for a Mother s Self-
Can you make money from advising moms?
When she approached her boss about the
idea of being a Mom coach, he told her that
"validation is for parking lots." She wanted to
have her own business and still take care of
her kids and a husband who was on dialysis.
What did she do? She called a super successful
coach who charges US$1,000 per hour and
asked how much time she could get for US$100.
She got 10 minutes and the coach showed her
how to get started.
She started with a Fortune 100 company
and left her book behind, even though she did
not have any clients.
Apparently it worked and she got the busi-
She advised female entrepreneurs that the,
"first transition is you. If you act small, you
get small." Redrick advised: "Invest in yourself,
read and take self improvement courses. Develop
the right habits as success is about habit."
Sajjad Hamid is an SME consultant. His
contact is: email@example.com and
Spotlight on entrepreneurship
Michelle Low Chew Tung
(chair), left, with Felisha
Mills, Nicole Greene,
and Georgina Terry.
with Sajjad Hamid
Links Archive November 28th 2015 November 30th 2015 Navigation Previous Page Next Page