With a changing trajectory compounded by evolving strategies, the food and beverage industry is set to unearth some of the most amazing modifications. Whilst many stakeholders along the food supply chain were literally brought to their knees by the Covid-19 pandemic, the food and beverage industry immediately went into re-imagine overdrive to salvage its sustainability, not forgetting the sanitation and health protocols that govern survival.
Re-imagine is the buzz on how technology can enable delivery, value chains, value proposition , loyalty and value for money; a re-imagined philosophy, better equips businesses to provide employment opportunities to persons who are currently out of work, re-shape the industry’s ecosystem, and also work closely with business partners in transitioning towards a renewed paradigm shift.
Reliable supply chains must now embrace technology particularly in warehousing and transportation with the aim of reducing the burden on labor and overheads. E-Commerce is another important tenet that can accelerate investments creating a seamless online to offline experience that proactively shifts spending to a model that engenders a better customer experience. Even as stakeholders address the short-term challenges, time must be spent in re-thinking businesses to become more efficient, less exposed to shocks and of course remain relevant.
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At this time the global entrepreneurial community is working round-the-clock to step up their game ensuring that their relevance remains on par with the “new’sual” or what is commonly known as the new normal; every sector has started evolving quite differently from their founding pillars.
Current unprecedented shocks have triggered outcomes impelling diverse types of institutions and/or businesses to re-think their modes of operations and even their business strategies. Well-established business beliefs related to supply chains and communications along with other areas have been fatigued by the global disruption.
With the dissipation of the pandemic, inclusive and candid conversations around re-configuration of the entrepreneurial ecosystem have begun globally as cross-cutting methodologies and seamless networking opportunities become the order of the day.
Virgin Atlantic’s Managing Director, Andy Fishburn has three (3) compelling pieces of advice to help young entrepreneurs stay ahead of their game – think lean, keep it simple, prioritize what’s important and focus on products and services with minimum outlay; add value – people expect more from businesses than ever before – think about how you can give back, and finally keep telling your story – share your journey with your community ensuring that your communication is really honest and personal. Join the conversation for a change!
Expressions of change and adjustment can be felt in almost every business sector with many searching for answers to some burning questions – “How Do I stay relevant?” Should I reconfigure my business model or transition into a new sector?” Whichever question fits your circumstances, the pivotal message remains a renewed paradigm shift to what existed previously.
The creative industries have been hard hit with a profound absence of any type of physicality which is a natural aspect in the delivery of creative artefacts; with stringent Covid-19 protocols on the de-operationalizing of theatres, art galleries and other related activities, creative minds dived into immediate overdrive.
Ecosystems globally have been connecting relentlessly to support the creative industries along with the supply chains that keep them glued together. The discourse on this critical sector understandably focuses on the negative side, seemingly ignoring the fact that crises are known to present a whole host of opportunities some of which evolve into new beginnings, and a spiral in collaboration and innovative dialogue.
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The loudest noises usually heard from entrepreneurial camps mostly relate to financial woes of one kind or another; more recently a number of young entrepreneurs have been struggling to manage their finances in the midst of a challenged business environment. Some have even admitted to continuously mixing up their personal cash with their business finances which negatively impacts their bottom line.
Coupled with noises for help, the pandemic with its unique and unnecessary burdens all flanked by a pressured marketing space, it’s advisable to connect with Youth Business Trinidad and Tobago (YBTT) to seek out a Mentor to begin creating a renewed game plan!
Your GP may include fundamentals such as financial goals (short, medium and long-term); developing a budget is also critical as you’d need to factor in your expenses (rent, food, utilities, entertainment) among others. You may be encouraged to develop a risk profile for your business which can lead to exploring investments! Discussions with your mentor could potentially point towards succession planning which is necessary for the sustainability of your business.
Don’t wait – connect with YBTT today to change your game!
As entrepreneurs swim in a sea of uncertainty, their thirst for knowledge keeps widening with some even grasping at straws to ensure that they capture the best catch! With so many so-called social media pundits spewing information by the ton loads, wisdom must step in to help in deciding what is credible and what is not.
Let’s take you on a journey that can assist in streamlining what comes to you and what should be accepted or rejected. You must first verify the source and research its credibility; then proceed to filter the information which requires setting up processes that can aid in categorizing and responding to data; do a brain dump to get the unnecessary stuff out of your head whilst jotting down important notes.
Whilst you need to remain informed, experts warn that individuals must pay close attention to elevated feelings of anxiety. “Consuming an overwhelming amount of information and possibly difficult news can negatively impact one’s mental health,” says Canadian psychiatrist, Dr Carolyn Boulos. But how can you conquer all of this?
Start by limiting the amount of time spent, reading or listening to new information about the pandemic; be mindful of misinformation coming from unreliable sources; choose trusted sources to obtain information updates as well as new business techniques that can salvage and/or reconfigure your business; identify at least three (3) credible sources that can share both psychological and business-related information.
Develop strategies to disconnect from fake news and social media distractions – some of these include switching off notifications on your phone; learning a non-digital hobby; engage in a fun activity daily like reading, listening to music or exercising; don’t listen and/or read the news just before bedtime as that may prevent you from getting a good night’s rest; establish a daily routine for self-care, and most importantly, ensure that your networks are heavily infused with the potential to uplift you and your business!
The lens of the corporate community became stronger amidst the Covid-19 pandemic as the significance of the entrepreneurial community has begun to bear greater fruit, with world leaders seeking to develop strategies infused with the broadest levels of resilience and risk mitigation.
It’s no doubt that the cries of MSMEs are becoming louder as Covid-19 is yet to fully make its departure from mother earth; in the meantime entrepreneurs are attempting to regroup, restore or re-model what was once known to them as a business. All is not lost as regional and international bodies such as the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, European Union and the Caribbean Development Bank have been responding to those cries through various types of support.
Along the European continent, the International Trade Centre has developed a fifteen-point action plan for MSMEs, business support organizations and governments; the plan supports internationally-minded MSMEs through this crisis and allows them to be at the forefront of generating resilience, inclusiveness, sustainability and growth in the future. As a leader in youth entrepreneurship in Trinidad and Tobago, Youth Business Trinidad and Tobago (YBTT) is extremely thankful to the corporate community for sharing in its vision to support both start-ups and existing entrepreneurs within the 18-35 catchment at multiple levels. Standing at YBTT’s side to ensure that its goals are achieved successfully are Shell Trinidad & Tobago Limited, Republic Bank, Caribbean Development Bank, First Caribbean International Bank, TSTT B-Mobile, Unit Trust Corporation, Massy Foundation and Bankers’ Association of Trinidad and Tobago. With continued support from these stakeholders, YBTT has been able to fulfil the demands of its publics….and in particular young entrepreneurs who need sustainable shoulders to lean on at this time. Re-building of economies must begin with a well-structured and viable pillar which is entrepreneurship.
With the new normal facing us head on, businesses must now become dependent on a sustainable digital strategy aimed at amplifying their brand optimally; in fact, this will be the do or die factor that determines our ability to navigate the rough seas ahead, as this unprecedented era has eliminated all channels related to “in-person” events. Such drastic change requires entrepreneurs to dig deeper in their creative pockets and pull out all stops to ensure business sustainability and resilience. Daniel Sun, VP Analyst at global research and advisory firm Gartner argued “companies need to leverage a systematic approach to strengthen the resilience of their current business models to ensure on-going operation during Covid-19.”
According to Google Marketing, five (5) principles are set to guide digital campaigns at this time. The first is context which is critical in helping businesses become more empathetic to the needs of their customers and employees; the second is constant re-assessment of campaigns, creative collaterals as well as marketing guidelines necessary to remain relevant. Thirdly, creative considerations must be reviewed as businesses need to carefully evaluate their messaging including tone, visual imagery, copy, keyboards and media placement.
The fourth principle calls for change in priorities amidst uncertainties; decisions must be made to evaluate marketing budgets and shift priorities towards the things that customers need during this time of crisis. The last principle urges businesses to come together and help each other; businesses must think of creative ways to assist their customers and other stakeholders; re-visit your brand’s digital assets and think of possibilities on how your brand can support advocacy and even increase dissemination of information.
Being exposed to the field of child care for more than twenty (20) years) coupled with her love for children led Renee Hendrickson to that desired space along the entrepreneurial realm. She explained “I grew up with my grandmother who was a teacher for many years, and I felt it important to continue her legacy with the opening of my own school.”
It all happened in July 2016 with an important intervention by YBTT. “YBTT assisted and supported me to grow my business financially; three days prior to the opening of my school, YBTT added the finishing layer in making it happen.”
As the school continues to evolve, Renee took the leap to employ two (2) teachers and she also took on the role of teacher in addition to maintaining the position of Founder/Administrator. With the unexpected visit by Covid-19 challenges immediately stepped in. According to Renee “my biggest challenges were the laying off my teachers and the complete closure of the school.”
With the urgent change in the environment, Renee quickly decided to reconfigure her business model so as to ensure that her students are able to enjoy the same level of quality service. “Though I was met with some resistance by some parents to invest in the new model, I proceeded to develop virtual classrooms and began offering classes to pre-schoolers.” With a current enrollment of seven (7) students and a dire need for this new model, Renee has extended her offer to the national community; classes are offered three (3) days per week ..two (2) hours daily. The virtual curriculum is further complemented by five (5) days of labeled work which is a combination of virtual and offline sessions. Renee boasts of being the first pre-school in Trinidad and Tobago to offer virtual classes which began on March 23rd, 2020.
Given the evolution in the delivery of education, Renee plans to maintain the virtual learning concept for the third term and beyond. “I would continue to monitor and evaluate the environment and reconfigure accordingly – something she describes as trouble shooting.” Looking at the lessons learnt from the Covid-19 pandemic, Renee strongly suggest the development of a sustainable contingency plan that has some level of financial reserves. She ended “sometimes in life we do not foresee situations and as such are usually unprepared when they do come; continue to have faith in God as with him all things are possible.”
With 14 years under his belt in the Oil and Gas industry coupled with his expertise as a Transformational Life Coach, Reggie Ramlochan seems to have unearthed his passion! “From the time I started working, co-workers would often approach me for advice on both personal and work-related issues” said Reggie. He recounted his life experience as one that propelled him to become a mentor to others. The mentorship journey between Reggie and his mentees – Christine Roberts and Dareem Jeffrey is even on both sides as he is proud of their personal strides and business growth and by the same token, they both boast of the invaluable advice and support that they’ve been privileged to receive. As he puts it “whilst they both possess different characteristics, they understand the journey and vision they’re seeking to accomplish.”
Reggie believes that a Mentor should be caring and be willing to help their mentees to realize their dreams and aspirations without taking control; support from the mentor should not go beyond positioning and helping in their mentees’ accomplishment as going further, would appear to be encroaching on their thought processes and personal space.
In describing the Sky’s The Limit platform, Reggie stated “the platform provides a great level of freedom for mentors to connect with mentees at the broadest level; it’s beneficial to all users given its broad capacity for inter-connectivity.” With some thoughts circling in his head to enhance STL “I’d like to see a circular motion on the platform where mentors can do leadership training and create a rubric that mentors can transfer to mentees which can evolve in an awesome experience for all parties.”
Reggie commends YBTT on the timely introduction of the Group Mentorship initiative which he describes as a safe space for mentees to share their challenges and seek out the relevant assistance from mentors. He views commitment by all mentors and mentees as a critical success factor of this initiative.
Reggie advises young entrepreneurs to take a page from the stoic philosophy – understand things from where they are and not make them worst; use this time of the Covid-19 crisis to plan ahead and identify new avenues.”
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“My love and passion for children led me into a space where I’m able to put that passion into action through nurturing children with special needs” said Christine Roberts, Founder and Owner of Chrisy’s Care located in Barbados. Her journey started by caring for a close family friend who had some challenges .
“I also pursued a program in entrepreneurship which focused on knowing your market and niche and that’s when my passion flourished as I knew my niche is caring for children with special needs.”
Established eight (8) years ago, Chrisy’s Care offers an integrated suite of services aimed at ensuring that students become well-rounded to face the world; activities such as social etiquette and external hikes are just a taste of the uniqueness that embellishes the business. Christine believes that young entrepreneurs are always thirsty for knowledge and new business insights such as regulatory guidelines, marketing and finance and that opens the gateway to seek mentorship.
Christine credits a lot of her current success to her mentor Reggie Ramlochan who looks at her business with a holistic eye. As she puts it “Reggie uses the Life Wheel concept which looks at different aspects of the business and recommends the appropriate balance taking into consideration strengths and weaknesses.” Reggie also introduced Christine to the mindfulness philosophy.
Sharing her thoughts on the Sky’s The Limit platform “it was foolproof as I was able to understand and navigate with ease; it also helped in generating a business plan that also assisted with proper direction of my business; it’s also goal-oriented.” She also lauded YBTT on the Group Mentorship initiative which she described as very motivational as it provides an opportunity to exchange learnings. “It helps mentees to build their confidence and grow as an entrepreneur.”
Christine describes her mentorship experience with a Trinidadian mentor as a major cross-cultural opportunity which allows her to look at life and business from a regional perspective.
“See things in the present, even if they are in the future.”