Thursday, June 18, 2009


* Rural Belize School
Workers making Marie Sharpes hot sauce, one bottle at a time. Marie is the most famous lady and reputable entrepreneur in Belize.
* Variety of hot sauces Marie Sharpe exports from remote Stann Creek valley.
* Beware hot sauce is measured by the DROP.
* Standard hot sauce for gringo palates.


By Ray Auxillou, June, 2009

While watching Caribbean News summary on our local Cable TV, Channel 5 Tuesday night. I was struck by the differences between Belize, a CARICOM and CENTRAL AMERICAN country here on the Western rim of the Caribbean Basin and the rest of the island nations comprising CARICOM. The news cast was full of complaints and excuses by politicians of the Central and Eastern Caribbean nations. Alibi’s for inadequate political policies that are bearing spoiled fruit, during a slight tic in the world economic situation came from; Golding of Jamaica and other island nations were also making excuses on the news cast, putting the blame for cash shortages for their governments and economies on the old tried and trued excuses. Finger pointing and claiming the problems were from exterior economic disasters outside their control. What a lot of nonsense! Pure lies! Such things don’t happen if you plan right.
Here in Western Belize I can only compare our own situation. There are so many economic business opportunities to start new export businesses in Belize, I just wish I could know what I know now, and be 40 years younger. I’m a small self builder, but even so, have had to put my building plans on hold. Can’t get the cement blocks any more the past two weeks. Construction has always been good in Belize, steady growth in that industry segment. Sitting down with the wife to figure out how we can find some different kind of work for our casual independent contractor, until the three or four block making companies can catch up with demand for four inch cement blocks again. Can’t finish my septic tank. Some big construction jobs locally have absorbed all the block making capacity in Cayo West. There are no blocks available for us backyard tinkerers and probably will not be for another month. Start a block making company, any high school graduate? Demand is strong. New hardware stores opening almost every new quarter.
In Belize, our education system have entrepreneurial courses to teach youngsters how to go into business for themselves. Only this past weekend in the Belize Times newspaper, was a very good article on FAMOUS Marie Sharpe. That old lady of the Stan Creek district has been experimenting, learning on the job, innovating and tackling swindling foreign partners and overcoming all obstacles to produce famous Belizean foods for export to different countries. Nothing we do in Belize is mega scale. We are not talking producing millions of anything per day here. We are talking small cottage industry scale. Marie Sharpe has been inventing and trial and error learning for umpteen years. She is successful. Makes hot sauce for export. Had one brand name stolen from her and distribution business in the USA, part of the business learning process. Has packaged roasted peanuts, corn chips, plantain chips, cassava chips, and many other food types with her unique gourmet famous BRAND NAME. The thing is, anybody with stubbornness, drive, goals, ambitions, and the desire to make money, can become a millionaire in Belize. The game is wide open with our small population for such a large land area. Read her story in the Belize Times newspaper, Sunday, June 14, 2009 edition, page 21.
If only Belizean youngsters could understand it is so easy to become a millionaire. Do you need a fancy education? Nope! What you need is an enquiring mind, the ability to experiment, innovate, research markets, learn how to process and package and to innovate. Probably the biggest secret to becoming a millionaire is learning how to make a small but steady amount of money. After that it is pure boring repetition. Plain stubbornness of doing the same old thing, over and over again. As the saying goes; if you can figure out how to make a $1000 a day, then all you have to do is repeat that lesson 1000 times.
Belize does have problems though. Mostly we can’t find business managers, or honest steady working youngsters with the ability to work on their own without supervision. Finding entrepreneur types is difficult too. Not everyone has a curious mind and is a self starter. Right now the country is wondering and debating if we should invite about 5000 immigrants to come to Belize as entrepreneurs for industrial light manufacturing from Taiwan. The 5000 Mennonites that came fifty years ago from Mexico are now our INDUSTRIAL and AGRICULTURAL HEARTLAND OF BELIZE. The world is full of markets, for which our business entrepreneurial population is too small right now to realize. Right now, India, Mainland China, Taiwan, Japan, Canada, the USA, the UK, European Union, Russia, Venezuela, Cuba are all big markets for our goods. World population is projected to boom from 7 billion to 9 ½ billion over the next 15 years. All those people are markets and consumers. With the era of the internet, the ability to become a quick millionaire in Belize has never been greater. I think every High School in the Districts of Belize, should make a FIELD TRIP to Marie Sharpe and she should be paid to explain how she got to be so successful in such a small scale cottage industry EXPORT occupation as an entrepreneur. No Ph’d, here, only stubbornness and determination to learn how to do it, on her own. Anybody can do it, but so few do!
Sure we have government cash shortages just like the rest of the Caribbean. Mostly caused by past governments investing all their energy in bananas, sugar and tourism development, when they should have been diversifying our economic base. Nothing stays the same in business. You have got to keep moving with the times and spread your risk. Diversification is King of economic security. Current cash government shortages are from poor planning with a bunch of new politicians. Just like other CARICOM countries, our Prime Minister blames external problems. Not a reality check to show he and his Cabinet are not planning properly. They have some stupid idea, from my point of view, that borrowing foreign loans is a success story. What they need to do is learn to budget, scrimp and save, to prioritize and innovate. The Belize Government has a cash flow problem, but the economy is going full blast without them. What we are short of in Belize is entrepreneurial types. Due to a small population, there is a new generation of youngsters graduating school, but most of them are being spoiled with nonsense talk about getting higher academic education, instead of learning to innovate, experiment and try their hand at the thousands of business opportunities in Belize. Give me a Ph’d and I’ll show you some poor person, content to work at poverty level for a salary. They want job security, and lack the fire and determination and plain stubbornness and bit of sacrifice it takes to become a millionaire. If only sweet phrases and jargon by wrongly educated academic intellectuals were money. Too much education can spoil you for business. What you need is an enquiring mind and a generalistic view. They don’t teach you in College how to do business. When last did you experiment using an FOB Letter of Credit at a bank? Do you even know what I’m talking about? Do you know the websites for importers of different countries that will buy a product made from Belize, as a unique niche brand name exotic product? An example: CARDAMOM spice can grow in Belize, but the unique, narrow, land climate environment required, is a Forest Reserve. Hence this spice with a world demand greater than the supply is cut off by political policies and can never be developed here. Never mind that the spice is a jungle shaded crop by nature and does not take out any forest.
Belize for the next few generations is truly, the LAND OF OPPORTUNITY and entrepreneurial immigrant types are welcomed with open arms. Our economy is booming and changing all the time. We have a shortage of young people willing to give private sector business a go. Our population is still too small, for the percentage of youngsters willing to give it a go. It is just our politicians are so old fashioned, in the British Empire system and looking for bribes and corrupt deals, permits and licenses are used by them to steal successful businesses, these attitudes cannot lead our new generations, or develop our nation of Belize. The latest media news has it for example, that the dozen and a half established experienced seasonal vegetable importers that fill out our food seasonal shortages, have had their businesses ruined by politics and permits denied, and given to one person politically connected. Implied is that either incompetence or bribes were involved. At least that is the perception we get from the news stories in our local papers. In that sense, comparing governments, I would guess we are on a par with other CARICOM countries. Bunch of leaders with sweet words, hot air and bombast, plus lots of finger pointing and excuses for their problems, but our country itself is doing okay without them.
No way is Belize economically in trouble mon! Our country has been built by IMMIGRANTS and is economically strong. What our major problem is, we have poor political managers of our government services.
We are desperately short of dirty working hands managerial types, workaholics, self starters. Every local businessman who is successful faces the same problem. There are not enough honest people to hire to run new businesses, he or she would like to start up and expand. We have no shortage of local investment availability, simply shortage of reliable managerial type, self starters, given equipment by an investor and the funding to start new businesses by local investors. It doesn’t help that we are wasting most of our population talent. With a 70 % population of next generation students not even finishing PRIMARY SCHOOL, we are shooting ourselves in the foot educationally in Belize, and losing a lot of good potential entrepreneurs among that bunch of students not finishing primary school. They lack the mathematics and problem solving skills they would otherwise get if they had gone on to High School for a couple of years and be useful for building our economy and making themselves middle class wealthy. Without graduating primary school, they become just grunt labor, a problem to themselves and to our nation. Yet untold talents and future entrepreneurs are buried like gold in that early primary school leaving statistic here in Belize. At least 20% of those 70% early leaving statistics would have made good middle class entrepreneurs, but simply lack the knowledge base to read, write, articulate and research business opportunities, of which our country has so many.
Here is an invitation to foreigners who would like to retire early to the tropics. Come to Belize, start a PRIMARY SCHOOL, educate some teachers. With a small amount of capital, you can buy a piece of land, build a school building, and after three years qualification, get 80% of your operating costs paid for by our government. We have a massive shortage of primary schools, classrooms and qualified teachers. There are ways to do good in this world, here in Belize, leaving planet Earth a better place. The shortage of schools and classrooms and for teachers is a constant demand. Our population is small, but growing exponentially. You don’t have to be a church, or a missionary. There are many private schools, in fact most of our schools are private and overcrowded.

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