In smart business lies empowerment

By Gerald V. Paul

So, Eyes covered Bob Marley Day at Toronto City Hall with the call of founder / lawyer Courtney Betty for economic empowerment during Black History Month. Visualize a goal. Believe it. Go for it.

But business/money must never become your god, your foundation. You must have a higher calling, a desire to help others, as you seek economic empowerment.

Flashback: Eyes walked in the footsteps of Bob Marley in Kingston, Jamaica, from Kingston, Museum / Trench Town to St. Anne’s, nine miles to his final resting place … supernal.

Ah! The joy to sit with Bob’s mother doing an interview!

But on my return to Montego Bay downtown in the evening, small enterprise tek ova de streets! People in vans, on the road, selling things. Talk about the entrepreneurial spirit being alive and well.

Yes, Betty is on to something, methinks – more than that weed stuff, oops, Timeless Herbal Care, a business. In a previous interview a concerned Betty raised the exclusion, in a large part, of the Caribbean / Black community from  the “business’ of the Pan Am Games – not smiling all de way to de bank.

Where, O, where is the call for circulating da money in the Caribbean / Black community? During Black History Month?  Say wah? Weh de money deh fuh circulate?

Gone is the first Caribbean, Black, oops, Urban Radio Station turned White Hip Hop and then sold to the white dudes? Flow Radio ring a bell?

The current Black station – with plans for TV standing in the gap? Waiting to sell off to the next White buyer or having already sold out to real journalism and help from the Conservative quarters?

The question is, do we have what it takes as a Caribbean and Black community to make it in business?

In a word, are we Driven?

Driven, not like the free building, the Marcus Garvey Leadership Centre, freely given by former mayor Mel Lastman. Was it a white elephant or was it the failure on our part to make it into a profitable enterprise?

Driven, to be more than recipients of free buildings and the failure to run them as businesses but driven like the Jamaican Association Centre, built by sacrificial giving of the founders and members, even friends, so that today it’s managed efficiently as a business with value, doing good.

“I can tell within the first 30 seconds whether I am likely to entrust my money to the individual making the pitch, even before I hear a description of the business. It’s not just nervousness, it’s something intangible: a blend of confidence, assurance and even a bit of swagger,” Robert Herjavec noted in his must-read book, Driven, one of the most inspirational business books of the year.

Eyesers, kindly purchase Driven, organized by the 50 work and life principles that made the writer wealthy, as a Valentine’s gift and not that Fifty Shades of Grey. Time to make business sexy, methinks.

Herjavec’s business mantra? Learn from failure, profit from changes, to recognize that everything in life involves selling and to understand that there is no finish line.

Eyesers, you have only one reason to succeed and that’s the conviction that you are capable of doing it.

So go for it. Here’s 10 steps for opportunity:

Be aware, act quickly, think it through, know your industry, don’t challenge giants  -say wah? Yes, unless you are a David, appreciate the value of exclusivity, gather your resources, seek two kinds of capital, accept that opportunity does not equal success and realize that nobody knows everything.

Eyesers, let’s make Black History Month a daily lifestyle with business on our minds. One Love. Let’s get together (bringing in the money) and feel alright!


Gerald V. Paul
Gerald V. Paul