Innovators, entrepreneurs and investors from across the Caribbean region and the world met virtually on Thursday, April 29, as part of the OECS Think Tank’s inspirational and immersive one-day networking experience.
Addressing the global audience from the headquarters of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) in Saint Lucia, Director General Dr. Didacus Jules set the tone for the event, inviting participants to “look beyond the problems we collectively face, to the possibilities that might be within our grasp.”
“Depending on your perspective, we who live in this historical moment are either cursed by the preponderance of unprecedented crisis, or we are fortunate to be presented with an unprecedented matrix of opportunity for a historical reset, for regeneration and for defining a new normal. Whatever your perspective on this matter, the most relevant conclusion to us in the Caribbean today is how we respond to crisis.”
Acknowledging that extraordinary times require extraordinary leaders, Dr. Jules stated:
“In the enveloping darkness of crisis, there are no beacons, there is no guiding light, there is no clearly defined pathway. In this fog, we all grope for directions, we stumble towards solutions. In that same situation, there are those who grope instinctively, not as much for direction as for understanding. They stumble through scenarios to find appropriate solutions. In the furnace of crisis, we are either incinerated to irrelevance and obsolescence, or we are forged by the fire to emerge stronger, tempered and able to face whatever comes across in a drastically altered landscape.”
Founder, President and CEO of iCreate Limited, a Creative Digital and Technology Training Institute, Tyron Wilson engaged participants on a series of critical questions for entrepreneurs in the current global climate, such as “how do we continue to innovate and build businesses in a period where business confidence is at an extreme low, where access to capital is not as readily available as it was prior to the pandemic, and some of our highest earners, such as tourism, are at an all time low?”
The answer, he advised, is our mindset.
Reviewing several decades of the 21st century, Wilson outlined a series of crises experienced and overcome by entrepreneurs and economies the world over.
“If we look at the history of things, and I’m sure with islands within the region, we have similar occurrences. Every decade we’re faced with severe challenges, our neighbours [in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines] now are facing a volcano crisis. We will always have different battles to overcome, but at the end of the day, it’s critical to think about the future, and think about what’s next,” he said.
Wilson shared the personal story of his business iCreate Limited, underscoring the critical importance of being dynamic as a company, especially during a crisis, and leveraging relationship capital.
“As entrepreneurs, we need to have a dynamic structure and a dynamic responsive mechanism, in terms of surviving crises and expanding our companies.”
“We have to look at strategic partnerships and we have to also look at internal talent development in our companies to ensure that we help to build the ecosystem in which we will ensure our companies survive,” he added. “That is the type of ecosystem we will need in this region if we are going to thrive post the Covid-19 pandemic, and if we are going to thrive in a fourth industrial revolution world.”