L-R: Dr. Kern Tobias, President, CUC and Chairman, Board of Trustees, USC; Dr. Wanda Chesney, Vice President, Academic Administration; Senator the Honourable Paula Gopee Scoon, Minister of Trade and Industry; Dr. Christian Stone, Director and Co-Founder of 3Stone Limited; Dr. the Honourable Nyan Gadsby Dolly-Minister of Community Development, Culture and the Arts; Ms. Natalie Willis, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Small Enterprise Development; Dr. Raghavalu Ramella, Dean, School of Business, Entrepreneurship & Continuing/Professional Studies
The School of Business, Entrepreneurship and Continuing/Professional Studies (BEA-CON) at University of the Southern Caribbean hosted its flagship event, the Annual Business Development Seminar entitled: “The Role of Entrepreneurship and Trade in Economic Development: With Reference to Trinidad and Tobago” on April 8, 2018.
The seminar, now in its 8th year, saw a gathering of Government Ministers, successful entrepreneurs from diverse fields and an assembly of representatives from the community, faculty, staff and student bodies.
The function was divided into three segments. The first segment included remarks and special greetings from prominent personalities including Dr. the Honorable Nyan Gadsby Dolly, Minister of Community Development, Culture and the Arts and Ms Natalie Willis, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Labour and Small Enterprise Development who represented Senator the Honourable Jennifer Baptiste-Primus. In her address, Ms Willis reiterated the long history of collaborations between her Ministry and the BEA-CON, particularly in training entrepreneurs under the IBIS programme. She praised the School for playing its part in fulfilling the Vision 2030 goals.
This first segment also featured a greeting from the Chairman of NEDCO Mr Clarry Benn, who revealed the refocusing efforts taking place in his organization. According to Benn, “Come May 1st, 2018, there will be a newly minted NEDCO which will be geared toward creating a sustainable, self-reliant, process-driven, socio-economic oriented, lead entrepreneurial development institution”. Inter alia, Mr Clarry Benn said that the new NEDCO will be challenging institutions such as USC to foster and promote the “gospel of entrepreneurship” among the student body.
Senator the Honorable Paula Gopee-Scoon Minister of Trade and Industry in her feature address noted that “while international trade can boost economic development, reduce poverty, broaden the productive base, generate foreign exchange and encourage competition, these benefits can only be actualized through a robust business sector”.
At the beginning of the event, Chairman of the USC Board of Trustees and President of the Caribbean Union Conference of SDA, Dr Kern Tobias, challenged students to keep an open mind and to push themselves beyond their comfort zones that they can be best entrepreneurs in their area of choice.
Dr Wanda Chesney, USC’s Vice President for Academic Administration in her remarks pointed out that at USC, the degrees are continually revised to reflect standards in the industry and standards that are set by the Government.
In the same vein, Dr Raghavalu Ramella, Dean of the BEA-CON encouraged the continuation of collaborations between the state, the private sector and academia to contribute to the economic development of the nation.
The second segment featured an academic paper presentation by Dr Christian Stone, Director and Co-founder of 3Stone Limited. Dr Stone pointed out that one of the most researched pillars of the Entrepreneurship literature is the Entrepreneurial Orientation Construct (EO). The EO literature suggests that there are three key internal components that Small and medium-sized enterprises can utilize to aid their performance namely: Innovation, Proactiveness and Risk Taking.
The third and final segment brought together prominent business entrepreneurs in a panel discussion format in which they shared their experiences on how they started small, weathered the storm in many instances and became successful entrepreneurs in Trinidad and Tobago. The lessons shared at this forum proved invaluable to our students and other participants.
The panellists included Mr Dalvi Paladee, CEO of Pennywise Cosmetics Ltd; Mr Dorian Neckles, Managing Director of Europcar Trinidad and Tobago; President, ASI Trinidad and Tobago and Mr Junior Maynard, Executive Director, College of Health, Environmental and Safety Studies.
The overwhelming conclusion of many participants, especially the student population was that the seminar was a very important learning experience and would be an important guide as they graduate from school and venture into the world of business.
In particular, a student who recently started a business venture and who is currently experiencing a rough tide which caused here to contemplating giving up claimed that the seminar has given her hope and a reason not to throw in the towel.
Another student commented that the seminar was exquisite and was worth it.
There have been many positive reviews of this year’s seminar and this indicates that the School of Business is in the right trajectory in organizing events that are impactful to students – the future entrepreneurs of Trinidad and Tobago.