Business People Can Set Social Change in Motion

Today, I read an interesting article by Richard Straub of the Drucker Society and formally of IBM.

What does it take to cause something big about a community to change — something that no one individually has much power over, even something as big as a prevailing mindset? We know what it takes: a social movement. And social movements aren’t only the domain of community organizers and college students. Business people can set them in motion, too, as we are seeing right now”.

What Straub said was not new thinking to me, it is a belief that comes as naturally as breathing.

I have seen others with the same belief within and external to the Caribbean Community at home and abroad and I admire them for it.

However, during the past weeks while sharing information related to the Community of Practice for Caribbean Immigrant Entrepreneurs in the OECD and other diaspora markets I was asked questions which made it clear that many in our community still believe that such initiatives are the purview of Government, NGOs or donor agencies.  I also experienced this very sentiment while serving another initiative for change in our community.

It is high time that we realize that business people do have a role in setting such change in motion.

Big business in the community also have a role to play in benefitting from while supporting the growth of smaller businesses. Smaller businesses have a role to play in providing cost effective and relevant solutions that will help bigger businesses with their overall objectives for growth and disruption.

A true entrepreneur recognizes the role of business in providing solutions; and that not all should not be for profit. A business is an individual and like human citizens has a civic role to play in society. We take that role very seriously at Magate Wildhorse Ltd.

I remember years ago serving as marketing manager for an industrial equipment sales and manufacturing entity that suffered regular break-ins at its warehouse located at the border of an inner-city community.

When I suggested to the owner and CEO that we establish a Corporate Social Responsibility programme and engage in dialogue with the community as well as help their students he did not hesitate.  Needless to say, the break-ins ceased— at least for as long as I was there.

I don’t take all the credit for that kind of think for myself; I also thank the Government of Japan and the World Bank for my first scholarship course in Corporate Social Responsibility that served to plant that seed.  I very well had it when it came to volunteering, government, NGOs and donor agencies, but I certainly learnt and have rallied teams to have it entrenched in every entity that I served since 2003.

The Black and Caribbean community must waste no opportunity to seize and run with our freedom and independence as a community— that means coming together to lead the change we want to see.  That means we must engage in strong, persistent actions and create more symbols of the practice of freedom, independence and power of a people and community to chart its destiny.  And in addition to charting its destiny position itself to be a high demand demographic or group within society. I do not propose alienation from other groups in society, I am speaking about moving to fix our big problems in society and positioning for a different future.

I also take this opportunity to challenge all our Alumni Associations to ensure playing a role in advancing the economic outcomes of our graduates is a primary objective your organization. The school ran one leg of the relay, the student and parents did one and our Alumni Associations must wake up and understand this fundamental role of our Alumni and Past Students Associations.

Our community and businesses must wake up, expect and accept the role of businesses and business people to set change in motion.

Meegan Scott                                                                                                              Magate Wildhorse Ltd

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