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World renown business gurus share knowledge and insights with locals | 16 November 2019

World renown business gurus share knowledge and insights with locals

Entrepreneurs listening to a presentation during yesterday’s session of the workshop (Photos: Thomas Meriton)

Entrepreneurs and the business community in Seychelles have over the course of the past two days benefitted from the first-of-its kind business extravaganza, through a two-day business event, The Dizzy Entrepreneur, held at the Eden Bleu Hotel.

The seminar, comprising a questions and answer session on Thursday evening, followed by a full-day seminar with acclaimed and internationally recognised entrepreneurs yesterday, was attended by numerous entrepreneurs and representatives of locally established business organisations such as the Mauritius Commercial Bank Seychelles, among others.

Following Thursday’s evening session where participants could address any concerns and queries to the speakers regarding the challenges they face on their entrepreneurship and business journey, a networking breakfast was held yesterday morning, providing participants an opportunity to interact with the business gurus and discuss business, strategies and success formulas among others.

The event was organised by Claude Bonte of Beau Vallon, host of the Financial Fridays segment on Pure FM and founder of Eden Island VIP, a high-profile international business network platform which organises breakfast meets for the local business community, in a bid to help those who are struggling to start or grow their business in Seychelles.

Speaking of the questions and answer session, Mr Bonte expressed his satisfaction at how the event unfolded, noting that it was a platform which allowed for honest discussions and information exchange and for participants to gain different insights from different perspectives.

During yesterday’s session, numerous speakers took to the floor to share their valuable experiences and business knowledge. Among them, BJ Cunningham, a successful English entrepreneur outlined his personal journey as an entrepreneur where he started off selling luxury cars before the market collapsed abruptly, leaving him indebted.

Mr Cunningham recounted how he went back to the drawing board and identified opportunities setting up businesses over the years, including a tobacco manufacturing business and an advertising firm.

During his address, Mr Cunningham encouraged entrepreneurs to form long-term business relationships noting that such relationships drive value and to “know what you want to say, say it clearly and do what you say you will do, when you say you will do it”, noting that successful brands are not only built on the logo and the business name, but rather on the promise that the business makes to customers.

He also advised against three common entrepreneurship illusions, namely, the illusion that there is not enough resources, that more is better and that things are just the way it is, advising that they be determined and to when they have eventually established their businesses, to “remove the illusion of separation between the customer and the business”.

Marc Davidson, a personality synonymous with the former Plantation Club Hotel Seychelles, also delivered an address in which he provided the basics for aspiring entrepreneurs, providing them with a blueprint of the processes if their businesses are to succeed.

Mr Davidson highlighted five pillars of entrepreneurship noting them as; knowledge of the business and market, research and planning ahead especially in relation to finances, organisation and management, being conservative and having an element of discipline.

“It is essential that an entrepreneur is organised and can manage their resources and time. Being conservative simply means that you must not think yourself as the cream of the crop and should be financially disciplined, pay your dues on time as well as have personal discipline,” Mr Davidson explained.

Local speaker Ingrid Sinon, chief executive of the Seychelles Credit Union, a cooperative bank, also addressed the participants with emphasis on business strategies and planning, noting that numerous start-ups and businesses in Seychelles fail due to improper cash flow management, low profits and losses, too much production capacity, excessive inventories and allowing customers too much credit and too long to pay.

Ms Sinon further noted that failures in the local context result from overtrading which means expanding the business too fast and because some businesses focus on seasonal demand.

Other speakers including Fraser Hay, Elenonore Schafenberg and others also took to the stage to share their insights and experiences.


By Laura Pillay

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