I did manage a lot of writing whilst in Mexico but I was without a computer so it is but pages and pages of scribbles in my notebook that have yet to be transcribed to zeros and ones. Slowly but surely.
Tourist travel has fallen off quite a bit here in Corozal. Where the Thunderbolt (the Corozal Water Tax) was once the primary mode of transport for tourists arriving through the northern border headed for Ambergris Caye or Caye Caulker, it has been almost completely supplanted by the ferry service developed between Chetumal, Mexico and San Pedro. There's not a whole lot for tourists to see and do in Corozal so it makes sense for them to bypass this almost-border town. The drop in seasonal tourists as well as a suffering economy have put many businesses that were marginally successful or barely breaking even, over the edge.
After four years of running a somewhat successful bar/restaurant,a friend is looking to join the work force or, perhaps, start his own company in a different field. He certainly has his work cut out for him so when he asked me for advice we started what has become a mentoring program. Essentially it's an accelerated Entrepreneur's 101. We're covering the basics of To-Do lists and self-motivation to developing a business plan and conducting market research. He's learning about networking, self-discipline, and being alert to opportunities. I've tried to structure the sessions as building blocks...one technique or activity building on the previous ones and leading to more advanced skills. Fortunately he's computer literate so the typing and spreadsheet work isn't beyond his abilities.
His "job" for the moment is, of course, to find a job so we've agreed to a daily schedule and activities and he's making a pretty good effort of behaving as if he were going to work every day. We meet, for just an hour every "workday" at 10AM to go over his previous day's activities and discuss techniques. He's been working on his "elevator speech" and question list in preparation for his first foray into networking. To help keep him on track, we review his To-Do list and homework daily and once a week adjust, refine, and prioritize his goals. His latest objective is to develop a list of questions that will help him do the market research necessary to determine if his business idea is viable.
There are some resources for young entrepreneurs in Belize, but not much. The Belize Youth Business Trust is one such organization with mentors and young entrepreneurs that recently made a splash with their 2012 Expo and associated Symposium (http://www.youthbusiness.bz/?cat=5). There's also St John's College Centre for Business and Career Development but I don't see anything recent on their website. I will have to investigate the local Corozal Community College and see what they might offer aspiring entrepreneurs.
I'm enjoying our sessions and seeing my charge learn new skills and techniques. Hopefully we'll get him a job or start him in a new business, sooner rather than later.