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Point and Counter Point: Belizean Global Entrepreneurs – Chucky Godoy’s ME

Posted: Wednesday, January 26, 2022. 10:10 pm CST.

Тhе vіеwѕ ехрrеѕѕеd іn this аrtісlе аrе those оf the writer аnd nоt nесеѕѕаrіlу those оf Вrеаkіng Веlіzе Nеwѕ or the Institution he serves.

By Dorian A. Barrow, Ph.D., Florida State University: Ian McMillian, Ph.D., is an adjunct Associate Professor at Galen University (Belize) in the Faculty of Business and Entrepreneurship and his consistent message to his students is simple: if you want to be successful as an entrepreneur you have to innovate and produce goods and/or services in sufficient surplus that you can sell not only in Belize but to the region and the world , in other words, ‘think globally as you act locally’. This to me is solid advice, especially if we take entrepreneurship to be the activity of setting up a business or businesses, taking on financial risks in the hope of making a profit. True and highly successful entrepreneurs in Belize are in very short supply, especially among urban and sub-urban blacks. Global Belizean entrepreneurs are even more difficult to come by! The purpose of this reflection is, therefore, to try and identify some of the challenges’ entrepreneurs in Belize face, and to share the success story of Jasima ‘Chucky’ Godoy, a Southside black Belize City youth, who with his brothers, braved all the odds and is emerging as one of Belize’s first global entrepreneurs with his ME (Money Eyes) clothing line.

But what are the elements of the Belizean Global Entrepreneur? Based on a sit down I had with Chucky over the Christmas Holidays, it seems to me to be this: the ability to generate original ideas or to innovate, the skill to evaluate opportunities, the discipline and skill to plan effectively, the moral compass to chose to operate within the framework of the law, and the willingness to put in the work that will enable the growth of the enterprise. But what is the formal definition of entrepreneurship and how does it differ from this experiential view of the entrepreneurial construct?

The best definition of entrepreneurship that I found is that an entrepreneur is an individual who creates a new business, “bearing most of the risks and enjoying most of the rewards”. The process of setting up a business is known as entrepreneurship. Large scale entrepreneurs emerged in the second half of the 1800s – the Entrepreneurship Era. They built business empires, created enormous wealth and raised the standard of living of entire countries. The entrepreneur is commonly seen as an innovator, a source of “new ideas, goods, services and business/or procedures”. A newer definition of entrepreneurship makes it clear that “traditionally, the definition of entrepreneurship has been limited to starting a new business, scaling for profit and creating business capital …” The new definition of entrepreneurship is about innovation; it is about seeing problems as opportunities and about “changing the world”. And this is exactly what it seems that Chucky and his Team ME wants to do: “change the world, starting with Belize!”

Jasima ‘Chucky’ Godoy, a South Side Belize City youth and a proud graduate of Edward P. York High School, and his brothers, got into the fashion design business with their clothing-line ME, after carefully studying the Global Apparel Market. At the time the global apparel market had projected to grow in value from the 1.5 trillion US dollars in 2015 to about 2.25 trillion US dollars by 2025, showing that the global demand for clothing and shoes is on the rise across the world. Chucky, and his brothers, noted that the regional distribution of the demand and the demand share of apparel was expected to stay mostly consistent between 2015 and 2025, even though it was the Asian Pacific region that was having the highest levels of growth at four per cent. They also noted that the three largest apparel markets are the United States, China and Japan. They were thinking about getting into a specific niche market called the global fast fashion market that was fairly fragmented with a large number of small players in the market. This was the niche that they felt that could succeed in where they would compete with players like Zara in South America and the GAP. The point is that they got into the fashion apparel market with a global reach, and today they beginning to see returns on their investments.

But as Chucky has found out, entrepreneurship has its pros and cons. Being an entrepreneur, you always get to be in control, and there is always something new and exciting everyday. “There is a certain amount of freedom associated with entrepreneurship “Chucky says, “as your income takes on a more rational approach. You get the freedom to be yourself, despite the fact that action happens quick and fast”. The down side is that the CEOs of the company are the ones making all the decisions. Additionally, entrepreneurship is a highly competitive environment and income doesn’t really happen on a regular basis. Working schedules can be very unpredictable and you have to stay motivated every time you are addressing work needs. But the experience teaches you to be a transformative leader, one who can lead by the spread-sheet and who can lead with the clients needs and ultimate satisfaction in mind, while being a good corporate citizen. That is one of the reasons why Jasima and The ME Team hosted a toy drive where they gave back to the families from his neighbourhood in Belize City. That neighbourhood is the Collect Division on the South Side of Belize City.

It was refreshing talking to Mr Chucky Godoy over the Christmas break. Though as one of the CEOs for ME, he works very hard, he is a devote family man (a young beautiful wife and two kids). He says “time is in your head and you have to make time for family and community”. He gives back to his South Side Belize City Community in part to “bring awareness to the disparity and the neglect the people of the South Side deal with on a daily basis, in the hope of changing that narrative”. Though he did not come across as an aspiring political actor, I got the distinct impression that he had given it some thought. He has the type of leadership style and entrepreneurial spirit that I wish more of our South Side Belize City politicians had, and I look forward to the day should he take such an option seriously. I will be following him closely, and I think so should you.

Feel free to use the column below to challenge any or all of the claims made above and let’s get the discussion on entrepreneurship in Belize going.

Dr. Dorian Barrow is currently working at Galen University as the Dean of the Department of Education. He has a long history of involvement in education in Belize, having served as a Lecturer at the University of Belize, and as Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Education. Dr. Barrow is an eminent professional who is well respected both locally and abroad. He is serving as an editorial member and reviewer of several international reputed journals and has authored many research articles/books related to education. Apart from education, he is also a sports enthusiast.


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