On April 19, Carl Archer, a Bahamian who graduated from Saint Mary’s University Sobey School of Business, and a colleague of his, Ali Algermozi, visited Abaco Central High School to make a presentation to the seniors on how to become entrepreneurs.
The presenters represented Enactus, a program from Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Enactus stands for: En-trepreneurial Act-ion for others creates a better world for US all.
The goal of the program, they explained, is to bring awareness to young people on the possibilities to create a business from the needs of a community or from the availability of unused supply in certain areas. Discarded material such as plastics or mattresses, the use of solar energy or environmental supply such as coconut, for example, can create business possibilities.
Carl Archer, who was back home for the presentation after a long period abroad, said he had never seen as many opportunities as here.
The program, called the Startup 100 in Canada, is meant to urge students to create 100 businesses in 100 hundred days.
The presenters proposed a partnership opportunity for the Bahamas within a three-tiered project.
Tier 1: Startup 242- The Social Enterprise. Time line: from September 2016 to December 2016.
-Social enterprise startup competition for high school students focusing on creating socially responsible businesses that will benefit the community on the island.
Tier 2: Startup 101- The Bahamian Entrepreneur. Time line: from January 2017 to May 2017
-Students may register as Sole Proprietorships or Partnerships
-Cash incentives are provided to generate interest
-Upon program completion, students can access a $1000-5000 grant provided by the government to start their business.
Tier 3: Enactus Saint Mary’s – Bahamas. Time line: September 2017- Onwards
-Graduate advancing to University create first Enactus Saint Mary’s- Bahamas Chapter
-Participants coordinate with Enactus Saint Mary’s while developing a functional team
-Winning Startup 242 project will be the first Enactus Bahamas Project implemented.
Participants will develop an entrepreneurial mind-set, participate in an innovative online training program, network with other students, launch successful businesses, receive free consulting and coaching from Saint Mary’s University students, be eligible for $100 per day in seed money and compete for a $5,000 prize for the best grown business.
The presenters asked the students to think about an idea of something in the community that can be used to start a business. The students were divided into three groups and asked to come up with a project that will benefit the community. A speaker for the group was then summoned to present the idea to the classroom.
Recharging discarded batteries was a suggestion; “I like to figure a way to put them back to life,” said the student; “it would be a way to avoid pollution.”
Introducing organic milk by bringing cows to the island, was another idea.
The third group wanted to create a foundation to help high school drop-outs and pregnant teenagers. If a winner of the competition, investing the money would help buy more material.
Mr. Archer commented that he wanted to bring the program to Abaco, knowing that he would have a positive response.
“Pick a goal so big or a mountain so high that it scares you”, he recommended, hinting that the more difficult the challenge, the higher the reward of succeeding.