05/29/2016 04:17 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Entrepreneurship in the British Virgin Islands with Stedman Graham

I recently had the distinct pleasure to present my Identity Leadership Program in Tortola, British Virgin Islands (BVI) where the business community is called on to display their gifts and their talents under the theme, "Innovation through Giftedness."

Specifically, the program seeks to ignite the socioeconomic engine of the BVI through entrepreneurship.

It is important today to realize that to lead others you must first lead yourself.

I've dedicated my life to providing a proven methodology and learning management system that teaches you how to organize your life around your identity. This knowledge allows for the application of the gifts of entrepreneurs, and in the BVI, the intention is to propel the achievement of a sustainable socioeconomic vision through a well-defined set of policies, educational programs and business infrastructure.

The result of the three-day event was the igniting of an entrepreneurial flame within a relatively small but richly diverse group of individuals who collectively have the capacity to change the socioeconomic landscape of the BVI.

From my vantage point, developing and maintaining success in a community or country is due in large measure to recognizing that change starts with the individual.

Businesses, and those that lead and are employed by them, are the drivers of economies. They are the engine that affects family, finances, community and culture. Doing business, while managing leadership success in the 21st century, is riddled with complexities and opportunities.

Now is the time for leadership, change, improvement, growth, and the acceptance of new challenges as they continue to emerge. The differentiator is whether you, your workforce, and your constituents are prepared with the skills and mindset to meet these challenges.

Starting with the 'self' requires that we begin by helping each person understand his or her identity. This process begins with the realization of what you are passionate about, followed by the development of a vision driven by a set of core values.

Many people spend a lifetime life working below their potential. This is a core reason why the BVI leadership is fostering creativity, entrepreneurialism, and lifelong learning habits necessary for people to thrive in the 21st century.

The "Innovation Through Giftedness" program was executed in the BVI under the leadership of Mr. Meade Malone, CEO MWM Global Holdings, Blue Ocean Enterprises Limited and REVOLT TV. The exceptional individuals who answered the call to demonstrate their products and services in a competitive format received instruction and guidance on how to build the foundation for taking their business to the next level. Knowing who they are and the pathway to success....imagine what they will achieve and how they will impact their country!

It is critical that we each define our skills or gifts, and use our 24-hours in each day to continuously learn and improve as we fulfill our purpose. The result will be the sustainable awakening of the socioeconomic engine at every level of the society.


One of the many valuable takeaways that I was able to leave with the participants was the understanding that if each of them take what they love and are passionate about, download information around those things and organize a process of continuous improvement and mastery, they would achieve freedom. Freedom to succeed, freedom to grow, freedom to make a difference, freedom to positively impact their families, organizations, villages, towns, cities, islands, states, countries, nations and indeed the world. This view was supported by Mr. Kelly Griffin, head of music programming, REVOLT TV, who encouraged participants to "Study your craft...the greats such as Beyoncé, Prince and P. Diddy, studied their craft... That is what will make you great."


Notably, the program included a forum discussion that involved public and private sector representatives at the highest levels to identify the specific program, policy, regulation and business infrastructure necessary to build a sustainable foundation for achieving the socioeconomic goals of the BVI. A key outcome of the forum, identified by Premier of the BVI, Dr. the Hon. D Orlando Smith, was insights on building the capacity for BVI businesses to become major employers and exporters.

Asked by Forum Host, Mr. Meade Malone about some of the things that could be done to ensure that the vision for entrepreneurship in the BVI becomes a reality, Mr. Curt Richardson, Founder, Chairman and Chief Visionary Officer of Otter Products LLC, encouraged the government, to invest in educating entrepreneurs and advised that it does not have to be done in a formal manner.

"What is important in building the entrepreneurial ecosystem is building in the education that is critical to giving them the tools to assist with the blocking and tackling of business. Education can come through mentoring, internet based learning, formal class room training and coaching." -Mr. Curt Richardson

Richardson further suggested that government can allocate resources to assist entrepreneurs by establishing economic zones with low rent and ensure their placement in high traffic tourist areas. Additionally, considerations could be given to some form of subsidy that would help entrepreneurs learn the value of developing a good reputation and taking responsibility for the own success.

"We want to set up seed capital, but don't give too much money because there is a lot you learn by struggling." - Mr. Curt Richardson.


The Innovation Through Giftedness program continues with the building of an entrepreneurial ecosystem identified by all of the panelists and guest speakers as being critical to the sustainability and success of the program.