Monday, May 20th

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Editorial - Empowering

It may not be earth-shattering news, but the announcement in today's paper that the Chamber of Commerce and Industry has selected ten finalists for its Small Business Plan Competition should not go unnoticed. It regards a fairly common tool to promote entrepreneurship.

As a new school year starts, youngsters rightly are being told to pay attention in the classroom, do their homework diligently and study hard so they can continue the learning process with success. The latter will lead in turn to earning diplomas and considerably enhancing their future prospects.

However, while knowledge acquired from textbooks and degrees is essential, it alone offers no guarantee for making it in life and career. Much also depends on one's own strength of character, initiative and determination, whether it regards finding and keeping a job or starting a private venture.

The days are long gone when persons could be sure of being hired – for example, by government – on completing a certain level of education. Also, most graduates nowadays will have to seek employment actively when the time comes.

It is often said that despite its booming tourism economy, St. Maarten does not provide enough benefits to the local population. The reality is that opportunities don't always present themselves on a proverbial silver platter, but usually need to be recognised and decisively seized.

Helping residents not only to develop business ideas, but to prepare and present them in a professional manner, is therefore important. The more prevalent the entrepreneurial spirit on the island, the greater the extent to which citizens probably will be empowered.

As the saying goes, don't just give people a fish, but rather teach them to catch it.