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'Caribbean entrepreneurs can set change in motion'

SOLUTIONS: Business should not all be for profit, says Meegan

SOME TIME ago, I read an interesting article by Richard Straub of the Drucker Society and formerly of IBM.

He wrote: “What does it take to cause something big about a community to change — something that no one individually has much power over, even something as big as a prevailing mindset? We know what it takes – a social movement – and social movements aren’t only the domain of community organisers and college students, business people can set them in motion too, as we are seeing right now.”

What Straub said was not new thinking to me. It is a belief that comes as naturally as breathing.

I have seen others with the same belief within and external to the Caribbean diaspora.

However, during the past weeks, I was asked questions which made it clear to me that many in our community still believe that such initiatives are the domain of government, NGOs or donor agencies.

I also experienced the same sentiment while leading the charge to establish another initiative for change in our community.

It is high time that we realise that business people do have a role in setting social change in motion – and Caribbean entrepreneurs, too.

Big business in the community also has a role to play in benefitting from, while supporting the growth of smaller businesses.

Smaller businesses have a role to play in providing cost effective and relevant solutions that will help bigger businesses with their overall objectives for growth and disruption.

It means, therefore, that those groups should be holding serious conversations during strategy development and adjustment.

A true entrepreneur recognises the role of business in providing solutions; and that not all should be for a profit.

PICTURED: Meegan Scott

A business, like individual citizens, has a civic role to play in society. Taking on that role should not be a marketing gimmick, but should be a deliberate move to solve a real social problem. I remember years ago, serving as marketing manager for an industrial equipment sales and manufacturing entity that suffered regular break-ins at its warehouse (the warehouse was located at the border of an inner-city community).

When I suggested to the owner and CEO that we establish a corporate social responsibility programme and engage in dialogue with the community as well as help their students, he did not hesitate.

Needless to say, the break-ins ceased – at least for as long as I was there. The black and Caribbean community (and Caribbean in all its ethnic diversity) must waste no opportunity to seize and run with our freedom and independence as a community – that means coming together to lead the change we want to see.

That means we must engage in strong, persistent actions and create more symbols of the independence and power of a people and community to chart its destiny.

To support any lasting change in that direction, we need robust quantitative and qualitative data to provide evidence for creating solutions that are relevant to our community and its uniqueness.

We need all that, in addition to taking steps for creating markets within our community as well as sources of funding, skills exchange and shared networks within the Caribbean diaspora globally. Our wealth, our growth and our change lie within our community.

Meegan Scott is a corporate strategy planner, financial security advisor and organisational performance management professional based in Toronto, Canada.

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