Op-Ed: Why the Bahamas Must Focus on Entrepreneurship

By: Caribbean Journal Staff - June 24, 2013

By Mark A Turnquest
Op-Ed Contributor

NEW ENTREPRENEURS in the Bahamas must get into the game by conducting a comprehensive market search before they develop practical business plans. Existing small and medium sized enterprise (SMEs) owners must stay in the game by executing their business plans in an effective and efficient manner.

It is quite evident by now that the Bahamas is broke, with a 70 percent debt to GDP Ratio in sight.  We are borrowing heavily now to borrow light in the future.

Bahamians must become more entrepreneurial and do not wait for the government to set their destiny. Only the serious attention to develop the SME sector can save our nation from financial collapse.

Both government and the private sector should realize by now that focusing on archaic top down economic strategies to improve Tourism, Financial Services and Construction Industries for almost 40 years has failed miserably and now the cupboard is empty and the cookie jar is on the floor broken and empty.

The innovative bottom-up economic clustering strategy to improve the SME sector should be the only way to go in the future.

This means focusing on arts and crafts, movie and television production, medical, health and wellness, sports tourism, e-commerce, Information and Communication Technology (ICT), apiculture (bee agriculture), green energy production, innovative manufacturing and agriculture (coconuts etc.) markets mainly in the family islands.

All roads to economic diversification and growth should lead to the Family Islands.

Bahamians must return to their forefathers’ islands and start complimentary businesses because New Providence is too crowded and economically maxed out.

However, new entrepreneurs and existing SMEs owners should feel excited and be optimistic because a market research is being conducted to identify the problems and opportunities of the SME sector.

After the completion of the market research, a strategic plan will be formulated to delineate national policies on how to grow the SME sector and diversify the economy (from the bottom up).

In addition, The SME Development Act, the cornerstone that drives the development and sustainability of the sector, is one step closer to becoming legislated in the next parliamentary session.

The SME Act will be administered by SME Development Agency which will concentrate on training, networking, research, identifying opportunities, administrative support and partnering with local and international funding organizations.

Conducting comprehensive market research, developing and executing business plans in an effective and efficient, formulating clustering strategies, Family Island development, the SME Act and SME Development Act will be the main topics discussed at the Entrepreneur Empowerment Workshop that Turnquest will be hosting on Saturday June 29, 2013. For more information contact markaturmquest@gmail.com,

Note: the opinions expressed in Caribbean Journal Op-Eds are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Caribbean Journal.

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