Friday, July 17, 2009




Belize is sort of the wild frontier, but not so much in the old fashioned sense, but rather with the potentialities of getting rich in a wonderful climate of easy living and softer temperatures than the more Northern colder latitudes of the world.
There is a sort of gold rush sense of feel, to all the business opportunities that can be developed in a country that is small, but can develop small niche industries, to feed the appetites of the world in specialty gourmet select requirements. We are not going to compete with China, India or any place like that in mass production. But certainly exporting unique brand name products, we have a gold rush feel to it here in Belize. The Caribbean Diaspora is a big market internationally for Belizean entrepreneurs. Some fortunes of course will be made and most ventures will fail. Of course I don’t really understand economics any better than economists do, but feel certainly confident my gut feeling is far better than the understandings of politicians and bureaucrats. The world markets always alternate between cycles of growth and recession. Some things like food, never alternate much at all. Tourism alternates unfortunately, as the Eastern Caribbean now knows, but we in Belize because of our diversified tourist product, have taken hits, but not as bad as the undiversified Eastern Caribbean islands.
In the news this week, was the GRAND RE-JUVENATION of the Development Finance Corporation of Belize, looted and plundered by the PUP party of the past administration. We are going to be paying for that past PUP administration for probably the next three or four decades. With $20 million in new financing loan money aimed at some kind of niche market, which the politicians and bureaucrats tout will help development, I sometimes wonder? Experience shows me now, that this is not true. Good entrepreneurs that went the DFC borrowing route in the past in Belize, and failed, either through electricity blackouts, brownouts, or the inability for government to fulfill the grandiose infra-structural promises falsely made by bureaucrats seeking to create rapid economic growth under any circumstances, saw their loans called in. What we lost in the process was not so much loan monies, but rather our NATIONAL PATRIMONY of HUMAN ENTREPRENEURIAL CAPITAL. A person suckered by bureaucrats with false promises into starting a venture that eventually failed, was usually ruined for life and lost their home besides, putting them into the poverty bracket, with the inability to recover, because they started too big, and with BORROWED LOANS. Yet for those of us who have gone through life more successfully, starting and failing entrepreneurial ventures, we know from experience before hand, that 9 out of 10 new ventures will fail. Yet the number of persons willing to try the risks of entrepreneurial venture business are very limited. Usually only 2% of the available pool of semi educated, or even educated people.
We have for example a media touted 5000 graduates of higher education this year of one level or another. Of that number holding to the age old proven 2% rule, then only 100 of these 5000 will be of successful entrepreneurial business material, as our DEVELOPMENT HUMAN CAPITAL IN BELIZE. Yet the remainder 4,900 of these graduates must seek salaried jobs from those 100 ENTREPRENEURS, our NATIONAL CAPITAL, or go abroad to seek jobs. You must understand that 9 out of 10 new ventures fail. It takes time to establish lessons of success. Mentoring helps, but a lot of the lessons are only learned by each new generation by osmosis and experience and practical doing. We as humans learn by mistakes. Starting businesses and failing is part and parcel of the LEARNING CURVE. You cannot do this on any new pioneering type of venture if you borrow loans and sell your future ahead of time. So the fact that an entrepreneurial type personality and character in those 100 of the 5000 graduates this year will fail, is no reason at all to throw them on the scrap heap because their loans went bad. You need to chalk it up to EDUCATION in the real world, finding out what works and what does not work, why individuals that are of an entrepreneurial bent keep re-learning practically how to succeed. They need to be encouraged to TRY and TRY AGAIN. Unfortunately, unless you copy cat an existing type business and go into competition with others of the same mind, mostly learning to be a successful business person takes a couple of decades of trial and error. In Belize, the 2% of entrepreneurs are our DEVELOPMENT PIONEERING GOLD. They need help and they need to be continuously re-cycled through a decade or so, nursed along until they develop the experience and knowledge that only comes from practice.
That said, the idea that RISK CAPITAL, feasibility studies, PILOT BUSINESS PROJECTS and the all important elements of personal sacrifice and SWEAT EQUITY are needed for any successful entrepreneur to eventually succeed, build our commercial economic environment are more the realm of an INVESTMENT BANK. There are NONE in the Caribbean. We found that out last year and this year, when we tried to start an internal airline transportation route for CARICOM. There are certainly none in Belize, though Ashcroft has done his share with Channel 5 TV, SMART telephone, Belize Bank and Novelo’s Bus line. Such an event is more haphazard than any planned way to encourage our 100 entrepreneur HUMAN CAPITAL of this year into going into business ventures. When they fail, we need to let them do it in a way, that they can start again. This is usually in their psychological character and make up. They are naturally inclined this way to experiment and try new business ventures. You cannot do this through the DFC loan system. You can expand a pilot project that has succeeded into the next phase through DFC loans, but you cannot start them. You need RISK CAPITAL for new ventures in the beginning stages. These people are our BELIZE HUMAN CAPITAL for the future. They are on a learning curve and depending on their business venture choices, they will fail at different rates while learning the practicalities. Most pioneering ideas usually fail, without some sort of successful model to follow. This is the role of RISK CAPITAL, or VENTURE CAPITAL, given out to entrepreneurs for shares of any future business. if they succeed. The government of Belize needs to establish an INVESTMENT BANK in which they swap start up risk capital for SHARES in such new ventures, instead of LOANS. Chalk the losses up to EDUCATION of a different kind than a school system.
Part and parcel of the DEVELOPMENT GROWTH aspects of the Belize economy are wound up with the idea that Belize is a pioneer, wild west frontier type of society and country. This attracts immigrants with capital and entrepreneurial ability as well. Which we need if we are to feed our government infra-structure with taxes. The idea that Belize is wild and untamed and basically UNREGULATED is a PLUS to the entrepreneurial pioneer types. It does take a while for the nit picking bureaucrats to get around to regulating people with licenses and permits, but the longer you can stave them off, the more successful Belize will develop and more rapidly, than if you go the over-regulation route. This is something to lock in as an attitude by any future governments of Belize. Let new entrepreneurs run free as long as possible, ignore as long as possible the taxes and the permits and licenses ( currently used to steal businesses mostly by politicians in the CABINET for themselves or relatives ). Think about it you bureaucrats and policy makers in Cabinet.

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