Letters & Opinion

Success Breeds Success

Image of Bud Slabbaert
Image of Bud Slabbaert
By Cdr. Bud Slabbaert

JUST looking for a job? So, do I understand it right? You want a handout in the form of a job and that is why you are knocking on my door? If you want me to hire you, don’t ask me for a handout! If you can convince me that you can accomplish something for me, that I want or need, most likely I’ll like to discuss it with you. If you cannot, well, let’s be straight forward, you’re just no better than anyone else wanting a job. Don’t show me all your certificates and diplomas. The first thing I want to know, is what you can actually do for me, and not who you are! Bump!

One gets tired of reading or listening to all the discussions about who should create jobs, and how they should do it. It is like they’re all suggesting what can opener to use to open a can of jobs. Ding, ding! There is no such a thing as a can of jobs, so, don’t bring on can openers. Keep in mind that an employment market is ‘demand driven”. No demand, no jobs. What actually is a job and why is it needed?

No matter who you are or what your title is in a business. When you go to the bottom of it, you are only a helper, unless you own the business yourself. The root of a business is the entrepreneur. When he is successful and the demand for his product or the potential for it are growing, he needs help because he cannot do it all himself anymore. The more the business grows or becomes more complicated, the more helpers he will need. Of course they get titles to either specify their specialization or their seniority in the hierarchy. But without that bit of smoke screen, they are in fact just helpers to accelerate business advancement. The entrepreneurship may turn into shareholdership. It still doesn’t change the principle of involving helpers.

The CEO is actually a Chief Executive Helper. So, if you are looking for a job, you want to be a helper. That means you will seriously have to do something of help to that enterprise. Unless the business is a baby sitter service, no employer is looking for babysitters. Unless it is a TV station, no employer is looking for an anchor. Companies want to accelerate their business and move ahead. Yes, they want to see increased benefits or profits. Out of the increased revenues one will be paid for the contribution of helping. If it is asking too much to help, then one should start one’s own business activity. Seriously, nothing wrong with that; it is a positive suggestion!

Jobs may be wanted, but entrepreneurs are needed. The first action to take for the creation of employment is neither asking policy makers nor providing run-of the-mill education. The first step is encouraging entrepreneurship. Is the second thing education? Yes, but not run-of-the-mill education. What do you mean? To become an entrepreneur one needs more than being taught answers to the most common questions that one can expect to encounter. What is wrong with learning accounting? Nothing, I’ve been there and done that. But, does it really teach you how to become a pioneer? A ‘pio-what’? A ‘pio’ like going beyond where others have gone so far in business? Daring to start-up.Daring to initiate something new.Being tenacious. Having nerves like steel cables? Learning to think independently to find solutions for unexpected challenges. Not to forget, learn how to smile at people, even if you’re darn tired of a hard day’s work, or frustrated because the cash doesn’t flow as fast in your direction as you want it to.

Do you have a diesel engine in your vehicle? Why would anyone have invented a diesel if a regular motor was already working fine? Rudolf Diesel, the inventor, was driven by the goal of much higher engine efficiency ratios. One hundred fifteen years ago, at a demonstration, a small diesel motor ran on peanut oil and operated so well that very few people were aware of it. If someone now runs an engine on bio-fuel, it is considered an innovation. Fact is that it is a more than 100-year old invention by a pioneer. So, what? He was just a smart engineer. No, not just that. He had vision! What were the keywords one finds over and over again in Diesel’s profile? Idea, begin, attempt, find, develop, invent. So what again? He was just an inventor. Any idea how many jobs are related to diesel engines worldwide? Oh, don’t overdo it. Without the diesel engine, we would still employ lots of choo-choo engineers and whistle blowers. What is the essence of this story though? Rudolf was driven by something. Inventors, pioneers and entrepreneurs are all driven. So, should job seekers be.

Still wanting a job? First, start thinking of how to create a job for yourself? Maybe begin reinventing yourself. How can you amplify the best in you? It is like looking at yourself in the mirror and then starting to smile. What is your passion? Employers want passionate people who are enthused about what they are doing. What kind of activity do you really like to get involved in? What would you consider to be the driving force to get you motivated and come to action? All things considered, maybe your next job should be an entrepreneur. Never rule out that you will start your own business. By definition, it takes the actions of individuals acting in their own self-interest. Don’t think you are not good enough to start up your business; think of your self-interest! As you go about your daily life look at the issues, bottlenecks, and problems you see all around you. Could these processes be improved? Can you think of a solution? Could you start a humble business activity from those ideas? There is always a demand for solutions and also willingness to pay for it.

How can things be made easier for individuals to pursue their dreams and take an initiative? Venture capital is more mobile than labour, or rather call it human capital. Regions with high rates of entrepreneurship apparently also have high levels of venture capital. Entrepreneurial activity attracts venture capital to a region. The best way to encourage entrepreneurship is to focus on creating an environment where individuals are able to get started and to be free to innovate. It is called a favourable entrepreneurial ecosystem. These ecosystems are usually the result of an intelligent evolution.

Typically, the entrepreneurial ecosystem is tailored around its own unique environment. Remember that I suggested developing related to floating devices and platforms? That is a unique environment. It can become an industrious and industrial cluster where success breeds success. You may also understand now, why I have been suggesting to organize Think-Tanks or Innovation-Incubators on Saint Lucia to network, and get more input and feedback. It supports an intelligent evolution and eventually may support the objective to promote Saint Lucia as a Science and Technology Hub. I doubt whether anyone will dare to dispute the importance of entrepreneurship for economic growth and development. Entrepreneurship creates employment.

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