In my opinion, we need to move these Private Sector Organizations and Business Support Organizations (BSO’s) in a direction that places them on equal footing with the operations of a Government Ministry for example (in terms of resources available, and of course with higher levels of efficiency).
The current structure of every one of our BSO’s does not allow for us to achieve the results we seek.
Low levels of membership and inadequate fundraising mechanisms mean limited funding to adequately staff these organizations with the level of full-time Executive Directors, CEO’s and Executive Secretaries (which are our equivalents to Ministers and their PS’s). Let alone the researchers and policy developers needed to produce proposals which can actually be adopted by sitting governments (most similarly mandated organizations in the Caribbean have anywhere from 15 to 50 staffers working full-time on Business Development issues and positions). The approach of making noise and wishing well, continues to provide us with limited gains and a poor image. The volunteers who have brought us this far must be commended, but if we are to grow, CHANGE is needed. (I am also a volunteer with 13 yrs service and inspired by those who came before and work alongside me)
Solving the problems we face is actually very simple (but not easy) and has been done many times over in the world. Somehow, we continue to see ourselves as a “special” case and we continue down a beaten, bleak path.
Simple solutions include amalgamating the numerous organizations into a structure that reduces duplication and addresses glaring (and not so glaring) gaps.
Proposing funding mechanisms that are sustainable, for example: BSO’s receiving a determined percentage of the corporate/self employed taxes to fund their operations. Better functioning BSO’s means more Corporate and Self Employed taxes, and the cycle feeds itself.
Based on research in this area, we need at least 10% of our membership to be both involved and equipped to take on the challenge. It would be good to measure where we are now.