Having been part of the Caribbean Startup Ecosystem in various ways these past 9 years, and having interfaced with hundreds of aspiring and current Caribbean Tech Entrepreneurs, this I know for sure – that the number 1 thing our Caribbean Tech Startup Ecosystem needs is – a change in mindset.
The #1 Thing
Even though, I would describe the status of our startup ecosystem, as nascent and growing and yeah, we have many reasons to be excited and bullish about our future – we still a lot of work to do. The work to be done, is on the collective mindset of our potential entrepreneurs – from they are in prep school, through to our high schools and colleges.
The work is, to expose and train them to see problems differently. We have to help them to see problems, not from the position of a powerless complainer, but from the position of a powerful problem solver who can create solutions, build a profitable business and create wealth from it.
The work is, to expose and train them to see problems as an opportunity to create what they want to consume.
The work is, expose and train them to focus on solving better problems locally, regionally and globally.
The work is, expose and train them to see the Caribbean as this supposedly small market of 42 million people, but to see it the context of being connected to other dots, such as —our huge, influential, educated Diaspora and their spending power; our huge cultural influence on the world through our music, sports, the arts and tourism plus the global brands we make wealthy. By the way, can we get some data on this?!
The work is, expose and train them to see entrepreneurship as a journey – a marathon of experimentation, failure, learning, bouncing back and repeating it until you succeed. Then provide them with an environment to feel free to do so minus the public shaming and judgement.
The work is, to expose and train them into understanding that being an entrepreneur is a marathon, a journey of resourcefulness, endurance and yes lots of fun too.
The work is, to expose and train them into understanding that there has never been a better time in our history – this Digital Age, this Connected Age that we now living in – where the playing field has been this level. There is now unprecedented access to information, ideas, people and opportunities, the possibilities to learn and create a space of your own because of technology, become of the Internet.
The questions that flow from that are – what do you want to do ? w
That said, entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone, but because of the Internet, Technology – our global connectedness – entrepreneurship now there are so many flavours. It now comes in the form of the solopreneur/freelancer/digital nomad, the small business multinational and the team based startup seeking to build a profitable business, the startup that wants to solve really big problems and change the world. And if you can’t yet find a flavour that suits you, you can create your own.
The #2 Thing
The second thing that our Caribbean Tech Startup Ecosystem Needs More Of is – we need to see more people who look like us in the Caribbean doing, succeeding and having fun in this technology/online space. We have to connect with their faces, stories and knowledge of how they are doing it and have done it. We must never underestimate the power of inspiring stories.
So when we create the programming for school talks, workshops and conferences – organisers must be mindful of who they get to speak, to teach, they must be mindful of the images they share and the angles from which they do their research and publish reports – because yeah, diversity matters. I don’t think I need to say, that while we love them – enough of our Caucasian friends already!
Let’s see more mostly black, women, young and generation x people in front of us.
It. really. does. matter.