The Foundation's major objective is to develop and implement a support infrastructure in the Caribbean to assist entrepreneurs to develop, innovate and partner with other enterprises in the European Union and assist in the implementation of the European Partnership Agreement (EPA) signed between the European Union and the Caribbean in 2008.
The purpose of the agreement is to make it easier for people and businesses from the two regions to invest in and trade with each other and thus to help Caribbean countries grow their economies and create jobs.
Economies need entrepreneurs as they are the life blood of a business orientated society. Enterprises that are started by entrepreneurs add to the competitive spirit of the economy, as existing enterprises are forced to compete with the ideas and methods of newer firms and come up with more efficient business strategies.
In today’s global economy it is vital for enterprises – in particular small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) - to expand their horizons and develop relationships with enterprises in other countries.
It is commonly held that there are six “Pillars” of Entrepreneurship that are considered essential to the development of entrepreneurs:
- Business Facilitation
- Finance Availability
- Government Policy
- Talent and Education
The Foundation has developed, and is continuing to develop, activities to turn each of these six pillars into practical action. The initial actions so far are:
- Euro-Caribbean Enterprise Partnership Service (ECEPS)
- International Workshops/Events – specifically with the European Union
- Development of targeted International Training – specifically with European Union training institutions
- General support to Enterprises to develop International Trade with the European Union
- Support to assist in International Enterprise fundraising from the European Union
The Foundation and Barbados
The Foundation is currently developing an "Entrepreneurship & Innovation: "Euro-Caribbean Enterprise Support Service" for Barbados with support from the UK and Barbados Governments and business support agencies in the UK and Barbados.
According to a recent survey of 120,000 people aged between 18 and 30 in 27 countries, more than two thirds see opportunities in becoming an entrepreneur. That signals a cultural shift.
"Young people see how entrepreneurship is doing great things in other places and want to give it a try" notes Jonathan Ortmans of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.