July 27, 2020
A successful entrepreneur who shed a top tier financial services career packed with prestige and benefits to start his own business in an untapped field urged Androsians to do the same – toss away the box, innovate and search for unmet needs and markets that could be as wild as organizing an bullfighting event or as trendy as glamorous camping.
“Don’t just think outside the box,” said Robert Pantry, founder and president of Simplified Lending. “Tear up the box and innovate. Collaboration and out of the box thinking can make you more money.”
Pantry was one of several speakers at the Andros Business Outlook, an event hosted by The Counsellors Ltd. at BAMSI headquarters July 24.
Despite his firm, Simplified Lending, being in the business of lending, he told attendees that more important in paving the way for success than borrowing money is to develop a concept and find a way to collaborate or maximize space, materials and talent.
Look at tourism or farming a new light, consider digital asset management, make Andros a technology hub and solarization headquarters, he noted.
“What can be produced in Andros and easily shipped via mailboat?” he asked, suggesting a nail production facility. “It’s simple and easy to set up and there is a demand. On the same land you are farming on, carve out a small piece to produce nails. When your workers finish their farm duties, they start up the mail machine and produce nails the same day.“
Shipping nails along with produce could reduce costs of single-product shipping and allow the Andros farmer to price tomatoes and cabbage more competitively. While that scenario is one type of collaboration, Pantry offered several other suggestions including multi-lingual travel agents who create an Andros-based Privacy Oasis.
“When I drive around, people tell me this is mainly bush, but is it just bush or is it really a ‘Privacy Oasis?’ People are paying a ton of money to visit locations that are remote.”
Still within the tourism spectrum, Pantry suggested Andros could cater to millions who speak Spanish and French. “Why not become a photographer who also does tours of French and Spanish-speaking people showing the best angles and views and how to shoot them with only their cell phone? Can you imagine that, a photographer who doesn’t travel with a camera?”
In a real-time, real-life example of collaboration, Pantry suggested putting a go-pro camera on a farm animal for an hour daily with the animals developing a following who watch them on YouTube.
A success story himself who grew his firm from a staff of four to nearly 30 in less than two years, Pantry reeled off business opportunities for Androsians, beseeching participants to go beyond relying on government for the safe, secure job route and stretching their imagination to touch niche and underserved markets.
He noted trending leisure travel options The Bahamas has yet to invest in. Among them – mobile camping ranging from rustic to sophisticated chic, glamping. But everything, he said, works better when it works alongside another concept.
“Is there a way to combine tourism and farming? Maybe people will come to Andros because they can stay on a farm and each morning, they can pick their fresh fruits and provide them to the chef to prepare their meal? Or get a little radical – in your privacy oasis resort, you can offer horseback riding and hunting or maybe start the first bullfighting event in the Caribbean.”
Andros has the land and space to become a data centre hub, or a hub for digital asset management, he noted.
“Understand the power of people, go out and build new connections,” he urged. “The people of Andros can separate Andros from the pack.”
Simplified Lending founder and CEO Robert Pantry, left, is pictured with Minister of Environment and Housing Romauld ‘Romi’ Ferreira at Andros Business Outlook held at BAMSI July 24.