Go Lean Commentary
This sentence about small & medium-sized enterprises (SME’s) in Puerto Rico speaks true for the rest of the Caribbean:
According to government data, 95 percent of companies … are SME’s with 50 or fewer employees, and they employ around 25 percent of the jobs on the island.
Caribbean Journal Online News Source – Posted 06/12/2014; retrieved 06/13/2014 from: http://www.caribjournal.com/2014/06/12/puerto-rico-governor-signs-bill-on-small-medium-sized-enterprises/
Small and medium-sized firms constitute the economic landscape of Caribbean life. They must be cuddled; it is what it is!
The purpose of the book Go Lean … Caribbean is to elevate the economic engines in the region, to make the Caribbean a better place to live, work and play. The book serves as a 5 year roadmap to foster new empowerments and economic opportunities for the region, with the goal of creating 2.2 million new jobs. To be successful, we must focus on the landscape – and realities – of small businesses, considering that they may constitute 95 percent of the business community.
In previous blogs-commentaries, the reality of BIG businesses are fully explored: the good, the bad and the ugly:
- While there is a constant vigil against Crony-Capitalism, there is the pragmatic realization that Direct Foreign Investors (DFI) tend to be large corporations.
- The Caribbean wants DFI.
- The Caribbean does not want plutocracies – dominant corporate entities with abusive behavior.
- Minority businesses tend to be minor businesses.
This commentary stresses jobs and entrepreneurship, features of the prime directives described in the Go Lean book. The book serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the technocratic Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU) with the charter to facilitate jobs. These prime directives are defined by these 3 statements:
- Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy to $800 Billion in GDP and create 2.2 million new jobs.
- Establishment of a security apparatus to protect the resultant economic engines.
- Improvement of Caribbean governance to support these engines.
How can small businesses fit in this mission? How can small enterprises succeed and compete against BIG multi-national corporations? Can they succeed? Yes, they can!
So says one of the largest banks in the US, Bank of America. They have provided a proven formula for small businesses to succeed … in competition with the rest of the world. Consider their details here:
Studies show that when consumers spend money at a small business, their purchases have a ripple effect that spreads through the local economy. Big box or national chain stores might appear to make a bigger impact, but downtown merchants anchored in the community often provide more benefits overall. From keeping more money in the community to providing competitive deals, local economies thrive when neighborhood businesses are supported.
Click on Images to Enlarge
Bank of America – Community Economic Education Campaign. Posted 05/5/2016; retrieved 05/13-/2016:
It is important to note that the quest to “cuddle” small businesses likely do not involve Crony-Capitalism, as small enterprises do not wield much power. (Collectively, as in the Chamber of Commerce, the influence peddling may be more impactful).
So how can small businesses fit in with the prime directives to elevate Caribbean society?
The Go Lean roadmap anticipates the job multiplier effect. It is necessary to confederate the 30 member-states of the Caribbean region to optimize the local economic engines. This means enhancing existing industries like tourism, offshore banking, specialty agriculture; plus also creating new industries for the region like Automotive manufacturing, Ship-building, “Pre-Fab” Housing and Frozen Foods. These activities are designed to create 461,900 new jobs. The remaining of the 2.2 million jobs – 1,732,125 – are created as a result the job multiplier effect; (in which every direct job can indirectly impact multiple jobs in the economy). This is where the reality of small businesses fit into the mission to elevate the Caribbean.
According to the opening quote, 95% of the new companies will be small or medium-sized firms – with 50 or fewer employees. This is the source for the majority of new jobs.
But with the reality of the BIG multi-national corporations, how can small enterprises compete and succeed against them?
Efficiency and effectiveness is the key to “leveling the playing-field”. One leveling strategy is the use of technology. This does not mean that small businesses must buy-own the technology. No, not, in this year of 2016! It is only necessary to use the technology, other people’s technology. See this VIDEO from the same Bank of America for their offering of Account Management services, in conjunction with specialized software from Intuit’s QuickBooks®; (who partners with over 18,000 banks):
VIDEO – Account Management for Small Business from Bank of America – https://youtu.be/C3qX4oTOIcw
Published on Dec 15, 2015 – With Account Management from Bank of America you’ll get more control over your small business banking accounts plus seamless integration with QuickBooks®.
According to this VIDEO from Bank of America, there are obvious back-office enhancements for online banking systems; (other banks provide similar solutions). It is the full expectation that local Caribbean banks will launch similar products. This is a mission of the Go Lean roadmap; to provide greater stewardship (“new guards”) – setting the bar higher – for the regional banks and business communities. The roadmap commences with a Declaration of Interdependence, pronouncing the need for regional integration (Page 11 – 14) and a new technology eco-system to foster a better economic future. The declarative statements are as follows:
xi. Whereas all men are entitled to the benefits of good governance in a free society, “new guards” must be enacted to dissuade the emergence of incompetence, corruption, nepotism and cronyism at the peril of the people’s best interest. The Federation must guarantee the executions of a social contract between government and the governed.
xxi. Whereas the preparation of our labor force can foster opportunities and dictate economic progress for current and future generations, the Federation must ensure that educational and job training opportunities are fully optimized for all residents of all member-states, with no partiality towards any gender or ethnic group. The Federation must recognize and facilitate excellence in many different fields of endeavor, including sciences, languages, arts, music and sports. This responsibility should be executed without incurring the risks of further human flight, as has been the past history.
xxiv. Whereas a free market economy can be induced and spurred for continuous progress, the Federation must install the controls to better manage aspects of the economy: jobs, inflation, savings rate, investments and other economic principles. Thereby attracting direct foreign investment because of the stability and vibrancy of our economy.
xxv. Whereas the legacy of international democracies had been imperiled due to a global financial crisis, the structure of the Federation must allow for financial stability and assurance of the Federation’s institutions. …
xxvi. Whereas the Caribbean region must have new jobs to empower the engines of the economy and create the income sources for prosperity, and encourage the next generation to forge their dreams right at home, the Federation must therefore foster the development of new industries… In addition, the Federation must invigorate the enterprises related to existing industries … – impacting the region with more jobs.
xxvii. Whereas the region has endured a spectator status during the Industrial Revolution, we cannot stand on the sidelines of this new economy, the Information Revolution. Rather, the Federation must embrace all the tenets of Internet Communications Technology (ICT) to serve as an equalizing element in competition with the rest of the world. The Federation must bridge the digital divide and promote the community ethos that research/development is valuable and must be promoted and incentivized for adoption.
Change has now come to the Caribbean. In a previous blog-commentary it was explained that the driver of this change is technology and globalization. The Caribbean region cannot only consume the innovations being developed around the world to support small businesses; we must develop and innovate ourselves. The bottom-line for our development must be the “bottom-line” for the community, the Greater Good. The Go Lean roadmap identifies an example of the ICT advancement: the emergence of cloud computing, as similarly depicted in the foregoing VIDEO. This is the strategy of forging a Cyber Caribbean with many outsourcing/in-sourcing deployments for regional governments, institutions, businesses and consumers.
The Go Lean/CU roadmap is designed to foster ICT developments in the Caribbean region, with the motives of job-creation. This requires a full-vertical strategy: identifying the human resources / skill-set development, incentivizing high-tech start-ups and incubating viable companies. These points have been detailed in many previous Go Lean blog-commentaries; consider this sample:
|http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=7847||PC industry swoons, as cloud and mobile devices dominate|
|http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=7806||Skipping School to become Tech Giants|
|http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=7646||Going from ‘Good to Great’|
|http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=6422||Microsoft Pledges $75 million for Kids in Computer Science|
|http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=6341||The new Tourism Stewardship: e-Commerce|
|http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=6151||3D Printing: Here Comes Change|
|http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=5840||Security Concerns: Computer Glitches Disrupt Business As Usual|
|http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=5435||China Internet Policing – Model for Caribbean|
|http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=4793||Truth in Commerce – Learning from Yelp|
|http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=4381||Net Neutrality: It Matters Here …in the Caribbean|
|http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=3974||Google and Mobile Phones – Here comes Change|
|http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=3881||Intelligence Agencies to Up Cyber Security Cooperation|
|http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=3152||Making a Great Place to Work®|
|http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=3187||Robots help Amazon tackle Cyber Monday|
|http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=2126||Computers Reshaping Global Job Market|
|http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=689||‘eMerge’ Conference aims to jump-start Tech Hub|
|http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=308||CARCIP – CariCom Initiative – Urges Greater Innovation|
The primary ingredient for a Caribbean ICT strategy is Caribbean people. There is no need to create new computers, just new computer programs. There is no need to create banks, just deploy online banking. There is no need to create new accounting software, just configure existing software like Intuit’s QuickBooks with Caribbean “particulars”. This is the conceivable, believable and achievable goal for Caribbean stewards to help foster local small businesses, to include them in this regional elevation plan – see VIDEO in the Appendix below. The Go Lean roadmap describes the need to reform and transform the community “will” as a community ethos – national spirit – to promote entrepreneurship.
The Go Lean book envisions the CU – a confederation of the 30 member-states of the Caribbean chartered to do the heavy-lifting of elevating the Caribbean economy – to empower (and cuddle) small and medium-sized businesses. The book details the economic principles and community ethos to adopt, plus the executions of strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to foster a dynamic business environment in the Caribbean. See sample list here:
|Economic Principles – Deferred Gratification||Page 21|
|Economic Principles – People Respond to Incentives in Predictable Ways||Page 21|
|Economic Principles – Consequences of Choices Lie in the Future||Page 21|
|Economic Principles – Money Multiplier||Page 22|
|Economic Principles – Job Multiplier||Page 22|
|Community Ethos – Lean Operations||Page 24|
|Community Ethos – Return on Investments (ROI)||Page 24|
|Community Ethos – Ways to Impact the Future||Page 26|
|Community Ethos – Ways to Foster Genius||Page 27|
|Community Ethos – Ways to Help Entrepreneurship||Page 28|
|Community Ethos – Ways to Impact Research & Development||Page 30|
|Community Ethos – Ways to Close the Digital Divide||Page 31|
|Community Ethos – Ways to Impact the Greater Good||Page 37|
|Strategy – Agents of Change – Technology||Page 48|
|Strategic – Core Competence – Getting better at what we do best||Page 58|
|Tactical – Fostering a Technocracy||Page 64|
|Tactical – Growing Economy – New High Multiplier Industries||Page 68|
|Tactical – Separation of Powers – Caribbean Postal Union (CPU) – Facilitating local business||Page 78|
|Tactical – Separation of Powers – State Department – Shepherding NGO’s and Cooperatives||Page 80|
|Tactical – Separation of Powers – Education Department – e-Learning Promoter||Page 85|
|Tactical – Separation of Powers – Labor – Promoting excellence and On-Job-Training||Page 89|
|Implementation – Assemble CPU and www.myCaribbean.gov||Page 96|
|Implementation – Steps to Improve Mail Services – Logistics for local commerce||Page 108|
|Implementation – Ways to Deliver – Embrace of Project Management Arts & Sciences||Page 109|
|Planning – 10 Big Ideas – Cyber Caribbean||Page 127|
|Advocacy – Ways to Grow the Economy||Page 151|
|Advocacy – Ways to Create Jobs||Page 152|
|Advocacy – Ways to Improve Governance||Page 168|
|Advocacy – Ways to Impact Cooperatives||Page 169|
|Advocacy – Ways to Promote Events – Example of multiple small businesses||Page 191|
|Advocacy – Ways to Foster Technology||Page 197|
|Advocacy – Ways to Impact Main Street||Page 201|
|Advocacy – Ways to Impact Urban Living – Transportation to jobs||Page 234|
The Go Lean book and accompanying blogs declare that the Caribbean needs to learn lessons from organizations in other communities, especially banking entities that promote small businesses. The foregoing VIDEO provides a sample/example.
Now is the time for all of the Caribbean, the people, businesses, institutions (i.e. banking) and governmental entities, to lean-in for the empowerments described in the book Go Lean … Caribbean. This roadmap will result in economic opportunities throughout the region, for small, medium-sized and large businesses and trading partners – domestic and foreign direct investors.
Overall, with these executions, the Caribbean region can be a better place to live, work and play. As demonstrated by this discussion on banking systems supporting small businesses, there is a lot of economic activity – 95 percent of all new companies – in the small business arena. The practice of incentivizing, “cuddling” and incubating small businesses must be earnestly engaged by stakeholders in the Caribbean region, especially those taking the lead. This is not easy; this is heavy-lifting, part of the process to elevate Caribbean society. But the heavy-lifting is an investment, for immediate returns, to benefit the Greater Good. 🙂
Download the book Go Lean…Caribbean now!
Appendix VIDEO – The single biggest reason why startups succeed – https://youtu.be/bNpx7gpSqbY
Published on Jun 1, 2015 – Bill Gross has founded a lot of startups, and incubated many others — and he got curious about why some succeeded and others failed. So he gathered data from hundreds of companies, his own and other people’s, and ranked each company on five key factors. He found one factor that stands out from the others — and surprised even him.
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