The Barbados Investment and Development Corporation has launched an export development initiative aimed at growing local exports by 10% over the next 18 months.
The Going Global programme was officially unveiled by Minister of Industry, International Business Commerce and Small Business Development, Hon. Donville Inniss, during a ceremony hosted at the Bagnalls Point Gallery, before an audience of stakeholder partners and major export firms.
The BIDC’s main partners in Going Global include the Barbados Manufacturers Association (BMA), the Barbados Coalition of Services industries (BCSI) and the Caribbean Export Development Agency.
Minister Inniss said the export promotion campaign will deliver a compelling story about Barbados, its products and its services.
He noted that while Barbados has lost some ground in first half of this year, with declines in the CARICOM and Canadian markets, the country has been making significant inroads into markets in the US and Europe. In addition, he reported that the biggest expansion was noted within the EU where exports grew 22.1% and in the US which increased by 8.4%. Barbados’ commercial trade under the CARICOM/Dominican Republic Agreement also expanded, registering a 1.3% increase. And in similar vein, export expansion was noted in Puerto Rico, which grew 27.5%, the UK which expanded 23.7%, Jamaica 30% and Suriname 37.4%.
The Minister stated “There is significant potential to be exploited with CARICOM and those countries with which we have preferential trade agreements.”
BIDC CEO Ms. Sonja Trotman, speaking during the launch, said while the programme boasts an ambitious target, “it is one that has been carefully thought out as part of our quest to create a thriving and sustainable export sector. It strategically serves to intensify our outreach and business development efforts to our clients, while facilitating their success in the export arena.”
Who will be involved?
The Going Global programme is designed specifically to target those companies best positioned to help Barbados in achieving the export goal, through a three-tiered approach. It will include large manufacturing export firms with significant international experience and the capacity to increase their exports in the short term, mid-size companies with the potential to earn higher levels of exports in the short to medium term and high potential companies not yet exporting, but with the capacity to engage in international trade in the medium to long term.
What will Going Global entail?
The export thrust will feature a combination of export capacity building initiatives along with an increased focus on firm level interventions and supply side capabilities to enhance export competitiveness.
According to Trotman, “This will see the BIDC team reaching out to clients with a view to engaging them in training programmes, providing general business support and advice, assistance under our Special Technical Assistance Programme, market research and market promotions.
A Going for Gold workshop series will commence over the next few weeks to ensure that local companies are in tune with internationally accepted packaging and pricing strategies as well as product design. Following the training, participants will be invited to submit entries for the commercialization of new products.
Through the Going Global programme, the BIDC is aiming to broaden the distribution of Barbadian products by keeping companies on top of emerging trends and opportunities through the offering of relevant business intelligence and market research, the creation of stronger commercial linkages, enhanced availability of products, a wider base of products and in-market promotional events.
This renewed thrust to extend Barbados’ footprints across the globe will be facilitated through an approach which will be executed through the following actions:
A number of promotional tools will be used to maximize the opportunities uncovered through the market penetration and market development activities. These will include:
The first of these events will be a trade mission to CARICOM, scheduled to be hosted in October. The BIDC will then be moving on to Cuba, participating in FIHAV 2015, Cuba’s biggest trade fair and executing targeted market research in exploration of commercial opportunities.
The Corporation is also expanding its reach through strategic partnership with Barbados’ consulates and embassies abroad to bolster distribution and promotion efforts.
To coincide with the start of the winter tourist season, a Barbados Uh Come From marketplace will be hosted. This event is intended to promote and generate sales of locally produced goods, while at the same time bringing more activity to the Pelican Craft Centre– the home of Arts and Craft in Barbados.
Trotman stated, “Where the promotion of Barbados is concerned, ideally, we will like to see, as part of our Going Global efforts, the roll out of the long talked about Barbados brand, in collaboration with our industry partners in early 2016.”