Sat. Nov 28th, 2020

Global Themes for 2020:

Education, Ecosystems, Inclusion and Policy.

National Long Term Theme:

No One Must be Left Behind: Creating Sustainable Livelihoods for All, Through Entrepreneurship

Delivered by Minister of International Trade, Commerce, Consumer Affairs & Labour

Hon Wendy Colleen Phipps

Sunday, November 15, 2020

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  making  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 results 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:

1) 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.

2) 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.  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, existence of pro-business legislation, and ease of doing business.

3) 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.

4) POLICY: as the word suggests, successful entrepreneurship is built upon  positive  policies  geared  towards  business  development  and expansion.    Entrepreneurship  can  only  exist  in  optimal  form  in  a business environment whose policies and laws are neither punitive nor stifling, so that they encourage and facilitate business growth.  These policies span the gamut of tax and employment regulations; investment in Information and Communications 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 work force, 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    20th       –    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  panelists  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 ownership 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.