For "Dealmaker" the Key is to Bring Top Leadership Together

Published in the promenade Newspaper October 2006 edition

Bernhard Schutte

Bernhard Schutte sees the world as a neighborhood where people know and help each other. If his time was not consumed by his travels around the globe putting together recipes for business development, Schutte would likely be cooking up some of his favorite dishes to share with his neighbors and friends.
 Around 1996 Schutte brought his successful company, Digital Media Network, Inc. (DMNI), to South Florida and from his base of operations in Broward County found ways to help his local community while at the same time bringing together leaders at the highest level of the public and private sector for international projects.
In 2005 he led the largest trade mission ever conducted to Malaysia. South Florida leaders in education, business and government participated in the mission which is continuing to bear economic fruit.

Ray Ferrero Jr., President of Nova Southeastern University (NSU) was encouraged by Schutte to be part of the Malaysia mission and Dr. Ferrero's personal involvement has resulted in the development of an advanced degree program for 20 to 30 Malaysian students at NSU. "We have two faculty members who are in Malaysia," he added.

   

His Excellency Lapologang Caeser Lekoa, Botswana's Ambassador to the USA

"Bernhard Schutte has the ability to see opportunity, and more importantly, he is very good at following up," Dr. Ferrero said. As president of one of the fastest growing private universities in the country, Ray Ferrero does not have time to waste. "We saw that Bernhard was able to put us together with the top decision makers in Malaysia. He brings the leadership to the table," Dr. Ferrero noted.

That was the case when His Excellency Lapologang Caeser Lekoa, Botswana's Ambassador to the USA came to South Florida for a visit. Schutte invited over some friends, cooked up one of his signature dishes and further solidified a vision he has to help thousands of Botswana's orphaned children.

The South African country is a long time democracy with a very stable government and plenty of natural resources but it also has the second highest rate of AIDS in the world and life expectancy has dropped from 67 years of age to 45. The government has calculated that roughly 160,000 children are orphans.

Bernhard Schutte and friends at a recent gathering. From left, Linda Cooke of the Habilitation Center in Boca Raton, Schutte, Essie “Big Mama” Reed and Ray Ferrero Jr., President of Nova Southeastern University. Cooke is part of the team working on the Botswana project. In photo at right is Botswana Ambassador to the United States, His Excellency Laplogang Caesar Lekoa.

"Because I am from Southern Africa, the situation greatly affected me," Schutte said. "My personal action plan is two-fold. First I must create stable homes for the orphans, and second, a Center of Excellence must be formed to aid the children in becoming effective members of the world community."

Since Schutte, the international dealmaker, defined his vision he has, as Dr. Ferrero so succinctly put it, "followed up." Schutte brought together a "world-class team of philanthropists and business professionals", met with the World Bank, the Botswana government and local leaders and surveyed the 250 acre site where the community of homes and Center of Excellence will be built. "It will be run as a business," Schutte added.

"It appears to me that the key to Mr. Schutte's success has been his philosophy of seeking a 'win-win' outcome for business collaboration," said Dato Sheikh Abdul Khalid Ghazzali, Malaysia's Ambassador to the U.S. The Ambassador has been involved in the trade mission to his country and credited Schutte with being able to "tap his extensive business networks in both the U.S. and Malaysia to bring about partnerships which meet not only their precise needs and expectations but provide mutual benefits to both parties."

Among Bernhard Schutte’s business projects
is the establishment of the “Weight Management Center” in Malaysia. Recently, Bariatric Surgeon, Dr. Norman Samuels, of
the Center for Severe Obesity (CSO) in Fort Lauderdale, welcomed Malaysian physicians, Dr. Sukumar Nadesan, left and Dr. Haron Ahmad on the right, to CSO.

Bernhard Schutte sees such international dealings as an extension of his personal philosophy of helping people whether it is half way around the world or in his own back yard. Just ask Essie "Big Mama" Reid, a woman who has spent her life helping children and families in her Northwest Fort Lauderdale neighborhood. Schutte became friends with Big Mama, helped her with her community projects and brokered the arrival of the ABC Television show, "Extreme Makeover - Home Edition" to build a community center for Big Mama.

Just another "win-win" project for South Florida's international deal-maker.

Ed. Note: Bernhard Schutte is CEO of Digital Media Network, Inc. , (DMNI), www.dmni.com and Electronic Business Management (EBM) www.ebmmerica.com. To learn more about the World Philanthropy Investment Foundation Corporation visit www.wpif.org.