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HOW TO BECOME AN E NTREPRE The Caribbean needs new entrepreneurs if it is to make economic headway, says Anver Versi in the fi rst of our two- part series on how to set up a small business BUSINESS 40 lime January - March 2009 O ne of the biggest mistakes we make is to believe that countries become rich because they have huge companies. When we look at countries like the USA, Japan, Germany or South Africa, we tend to think of giant corporations like Microsoft, Sony, Toyota, BMW, Anglo American and so on. In fact, a country's wealth is in direct proportion to the number and value of its small businesses. The USA leads the world in terms of small business, followed by Japan and Europe – which is exactly what their respective GDPs refl ect. Africa has the smallest number and value of small businesses and consequently is the world's poorest region. Giant corporations may well employ thousands, even hundreds of thousands of people, but small business employs millions – and it is these millions that create the real wealth of nations. Fortunately, as governments begin to realise the value of small- scale enterprises, the environment for small businesses is beginning to change. Banks and other fi nancial institutions are now more willing to lend to the ' little guys'. They are learning that the vast profi ts being made by Western banks come from the middle classes, the small enterprises, not the huge multinationals. Innovative fi nancing and marketing approaches are also encouraging ordinary workers to become investors in small businesses. In addition, one must not underestimate the transformative power of IT technology. It has both shrunk the world and opened up vast avenues of communication. Ideas, knowledge and opinions are fl owing in and out of the region. This is the ' can- do' generation all over the world and West Indians are increasingly becoming part of the trend. The world of business in the Caribbean is beckoning as never before. The opportunities are there for ambitious people to enter the world of business for the fi rst time, or for those already engaged in it to expand. Remember, all the global household names today started off as small companies and then grew. Read the biographies of the great entrepreneurs – the Fords, the Gateses, the Motsepes, the Mitals, the Ibrus and the Dangotes – and you will discover that great businesspeople come from all backgrounds. Some are well- educated, others can barely read; some come from sound families, others had to struggle on their own; some are strong and charismatic, others are shy and retiring. Yet they have all succeeded as businesspeople. Business is truly a great equaliser. It is open to all – male and female, young and old. Success in business means not only a good income, it often also brings social respect and admiration, leadership and power. You can live your dreams and help others achieve theirs. HOW TO GET STARTED If you have read this article so far, it suggests that you are interested in going into business. You may not be too sure about it, you may think ' lets wait and see' but you are nibbling. That's a good sign! First comes the desire, then the means of achieving that desire. You might well be wondering, ' How do I get started?' or ' What is the best Getting the right mental attitude LL PART ONE

NEUR January - March 2009 lime 41