Small biz, big rewards for community

By Gerald V. Paul 

May Mohamed
May Mohamed

“They provide quality goods and services. They support our local teams and charities. They lead job-creation in this country. And that’s why New Democrats want to invest in small business, not dole out more Conservative-style tax breaks for large corporations,” MP Rathika Sitsabaiesan (Scarborough-Rouge River) told Eyes as we celebrate Small Business Week, Oct. 19 – 25.

And Guyana-born May Mohamed, co-owner of Scarlet Ibis Family Restaurant, has been doing this labour of love for the past 14 years in a win-win with a loyal following.

“You have to love what you do. This will be the motivation to get up and do it day and night Tuesday to Sunday, on and on,” she says.

“It’s about serving; doing good in our community, not just for the money.”

For May, it’s pure joy, cooking and entertaining, be it celebrating a birthday, christening, small wedding – it’s all about catering for families and helping people.

Ah! She enthused with a beautiful countenance, as she revealed their unique cow heel soup and pot roast goat! Any goat head soup? Oops, that’s available at a Jamaican restaurant.

By the way, Scarlet Ibis Family food is delicious – and she did not give me free food, eh, eh.

Eyesers, someone who has studied business for a living, educator Robert C. Solomon, posited an approach to business and business ethics in light of an Aristotelian approach. “The bottom line of the Aristotelian approach to business ethics is that we have to get away from bottom-line thinking and conceive of business as an essential part of the good life.”

You see, Eyesers, living well means getting along with others. Rodney King – in the aftermath of a vicious police beating – said, “Can we all get along?”

Also, we must have a sense of respect and being part of something one can be proud of. Not that Aristotle was against wealth and comfort but in the quest for the good life, money wasn’t the only concern – noted by Scarlet Ibis Family Restaurant’s May.

The Aristotelian approach to business ethics begins with two concepts: the individual embedded in the community and the ultimate importance of happiness as the sole criterion for success, as noted by Solomon.

Indeed, as we all know, the good life is the happy life, although we have heard the saying: No money, no funny. And the Calypso goes, “Yuh can’t love without money … on hungry belly …”

The point is about perspective, putting everything in its rightful place, as we seek to live and do the calling not just to scrounge a mere living.

So the question is – according to Solomon – “Is the business we work for a version of hell or is it a community where we are glad to see our colleagues and get on with the work of the day?”

I trust that small business will continue to enrich our beloved community. With this in turn, comes the nurturing and encouragement, one to another in the community, in the role of being a good person.

So, Eyesers, as we engage in this work of faith and labour of love, during Small Business Week, let’s ponder the Aristotelian approach to business, and a taste of Scarlet Ibis Family Restaurant, that a good business is one that is not only profitable but that provides a morally rewarding environment in which good people can develop not only their skills but also their virtues.

Words of encouragement, indeed, for us here in The Camera’s news business, or is that business news, with integrity and virtue?

One Love.

Gerald V. Paul
Gerald V. Paul