Benefitting from a Community of Practice

Benefitting from a Community of Practice

By  Meegan Scott

Meegan Scott

Recent studies show that the Caribbean immigrant in Canada and other OECD countries are among the least likely to start and grow a business. Many Caribbean immigrant businesses fall in the micro business category with incomes well below US $500,000 per annum.

On the other hand, immigrants from Europe and Asia form and grow businesses at a rate that leaves a huge gap between them and their Caribbean counterparts. Ironically, the Caribbean immigrant is more likely be a lower income earner who is underemployed or serving in a precarious job, irrespective of qualifications. Besides paying the bills there is a serious risk to the financial freedom and economic wellbeing of current and future generations of Caribbean immigrants.

But does it have to be this way?  Absolutely not.

The social, economic, and ideological factors that may have led  to the belief that entrepreneurship was undesirable or impractical for the Caribbean immigrant have been dead for at least two decades. But like the proverbial frog placed in water that is gradually heated, the community did not feel the water change temperature and now we are almost cooked. This situation is one of those rare cases when “urgent” is “important”.

Entrepreneurship experience, knowledge and big business success are needed in order to make business ownership which is vital to our survival desirable, financially viable and feasible. A community of practice (CoP) provides the perfect opportunity for coming together to solve the problem of missing high-performance businesses by Caribbean immigrants in Canada and the wider Caribbean diaspora.

Like other CoPs, it would be made up of individuals with a vested interest in a subject in order to develop and gather best practices. The outputs of the CoP would include a collection of shared stories, experiences, tools, resources and knowledge collaterals for solving challenges that are common and likely to happen again.

.The High-Performance Caribbean Entrepreneur’s Ring has been established for facilitating the kind of sharing, gap assessment, networks, markets and problem solving for ensuring Caribbean immigrants can be among the groups with the highest rates of starting and growing successful businesses.

Besides entrepreneurs and their families, cities will benefit from economic growth and more rapid assimilation of immigrants. The Caribbean community at home and aboard will benefit from improved levels of economic well-being, financial freedom and the acquisition of productive assets. The reputation of the community will be enhanced and like other immigrant groups, the culture of Caribbean entrepreneurship abroad will be distinct, rich and a source of pride. What’s more it can ensure inclusiveness in the representation of Caribbean immigrants, not only in terms of ethnicity but also by race.

Coming together as a diaspora increases the diversity of human and financial capital that is key to growing an entrepreneurial community. Capital has been a big hindrance to the Caribbean immigrant who is often more than three times more likely to be denied a loan for financing a business.

A CoP such as the High-Performance Caribbean Entrepreneur’s Ring, can provide the essential network, markets and accelerated learning for helping us to grow bigger and stronger businesses.

The equalizing Community of Practice has arrived.

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(Meegan Scott, is a Jamaica-born Strategic Management Consultant.)