Samantha Sheoprashad: Global Entrepreneurship Week
Samantha Sheoprashad: Global Entrepreneurship Week
Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) is an international initiative that introduces entrepreneurship to young people in six continents. Queen’s Young Leader, Samantha Sheoprashad, reflects on her experience of GEW in Guyana, and shares what she learnt with Leading Change.
Entrepreneurs are the oxygen of any economy. They are creators, disruptors, and innovators whose vision can shape our world for the better and make it a more sustainable place. Entrepreneurs grow our economy, solve problems and create jobs for people across Guyana and around the world.
They are the ones who drive progress and prosperity in every sector and industry of our nation. This year I am charging all entrepreneurs – including myself – to create a collaborative and cohesive ecosystem in Guyana to build local entrepreneurial ecosystems.
Global Entrepreneurship Week
Global Entrepreneurship Week is a time for entrepreneurs, innovators, investors, and collaborators from around the world to reflect, connect, collaborate, bring new ideas to the table and inspire the globe. It is a week to celebrate our entrepreneurs’ hard work, creativity, sacrifice and contribution to our communities and the country’s economy.
GEW emerged in 2008 as a result of Enterprise Week UK and Entrepreneurship Week USA 2007. Since its creation, more than 10 million people from 102 countries have participated in entrepreneurial-related activities during the week.
Image credit: Gen Global
During Entrepreneurship week, I spent time working alongside other entrepreneurs like myself. This training was organised by Cerulean Incorporated – a local company in Guyana which assists organisations and new startups to develop excellence in business, events and project management. Cerulean Inc also provide excellence in service quality mentorship and training.
This company is managed by Lyndell Danzie-Black, who is a Global Event and Project Manager with over 25 years of combined experience – most recently as the Regional Co-ordinator at the Caribbean Centre for Organizational Excellence. She managed a CARICOM project on the redevelopment and reconstruction of Haiti and has lectured at the University of Guyana on Private Sector Environment, Project Design, World Tourism and Tourism Dissertation.
Lyndell continues to play a pivotal role in the mentoring of entrepreneurial development having successfully monitored and evaluated several microfinance entrepreneurial projects, which have resulted in impressive and profitable new enterprises.
What we did
During the training, all the businesses worked together to develop:
- their portfolios
- the ‘SWOT’ analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) of the business
- the business model canvas
- understanding of trade shows, expos and showcasing work
- and social media pages to promote business.
I had the opportunity of interacting with small businesses who are aiming to not just make a profit, but ensure the prosperity of our planet and solve problems. Solutions included agricultural produce, fashion, digital media, catering, eco-friendly products and legal services.
What Lyndell was entertaining on a small scale held my observation and I realised some of the key things we need to develop. One of the main attributes that I saw coming out of the training is creating ecosystem for entrepreneurs.
Ecosystems for entrepreneurs
I am encouraging you to think along this line of building and creating ecosystems in your community, country or region.
The next step is to work on the 2023 goals which is to create a digital entrepreneurs ecosystem which will result in training, job creation, business creation and opportunities for growth in our economy. Entrepreneurial ecosystems can realise sustainable, long-term transformation in our communities through innovation and entrepreneurship.
The aim is to create impact for one billion individuals across the planet by:
- inspiring and empowering individuals by promoting entrepreneurship
- driving creativity and innovations
- and advocating for mental wellness.
'Econaire' is a concept I have developed – a five-year plan for economic growth, sustainable social enterprise and entrepreneurial community development. It uses the public-private sector approach, enabling an individual to become self-sustainable, independent, and fostering independent thinking in business development. It is aimed at stimulating our digital economy and addressing challenges surrounding the increase of high unemployment rate.
On my first attempt in receiving content, I failed miserably to provide content for this application for Econaire.
However throughout the Queens Young Leaders Programme, I was directed to learning through Google Digital Garage – free online courses covering everything from search engines to social media, and beyond.
So I am using Google Digital Garage to educate our Guyanese on how to gain digital knowledge to empower their businesses. In this way, I have been able to impact more than 2,000 persons in my country in as little as five days. Currently the project has been expanded to provide services to more than 20,000 persons.
Entrepreneurial ecosystem process
During the classes, I realised that entrepreneurial ecosystems can make sustainable, long-term transformation in our communities. This process includes:
- identifying key ecosystem stakeholders – whether they are community leaders, entrepreneurs, investors, accelerators, incubators, managers, universities, communities or builders etc – and clearly defining their roles in building an ecosystem
- providing these stakeholders with the opportunity to engage multiple stakeholders and encouraging them to break out of their silos
- providing mentorship and a business support system to continuously support business growth
- measuring and evaluating outcomes, communicating success and measuring impact made on startup creation, revenue and job growth, and unengaged stakeholders, and the succession plan for next generation of entrepreneurs.
I have come to realise that we can solve the problem of poverty and unemployment by utilising the digital landscape to create sustainable digital wealth. The first step in doing so is to educate the masses so we can stimulate the economy at a much higher level.