Barbados’ fashion and visual arts sectors will soon receive a further boost.
This was revealed by Minister of Culture, Stephen Lashley, at the official launch of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB)/Cultural Industries Development Authority (CIDA) Project, entitled: Enhancing the Export Capacity of Cultural Entrepreneurs in Barbados, last Friday.
The project is designed to improve the competitiveness and export-readiness of the creative industry, specifically in the Visual Arts and Fashion sectors.
It forms part of the implementation of the CARIFORUM – European Union (EU) European Partnership Agreement (EPA), and will provide technical assistance to improve the business management and operational structures, technical production, marketing capacity and by extension, export readiness, of cultural enterprises.
Mr. Lashley explained that there was a complex history with local artists and the EPA. “Under the EPA, there have been a number of incentives and tax arrangements to allow for person involved in the entertainment and wider creative sector to trade across borders and export their services to the EU…however here has not been a lot of take up [of the opportunities],” he stated.
The Minister added that the current project would determine what areas within the sectors required support, so as to make “the maximum impact in terms of the European market”.
The Minister of Culture also disclosed that the first and second phases of the project implementation had been completed. He said these phases saw CIDA welcome a team from international specialist agency, Andrew Senior Associates, to investigate the current state to the sectors. This included meetings with several industry stakeholders and senior Government officials.
According to Mr. Lashley, the “critical and timely project” will assist in the development of the two sectors, as preliminary investigations have highlighted that Barbados needs to be more “visible” on the international market.
With the scheduled completion date for the project is March 2017, and Andrew Senior Associates is expected to produce a final report before the end of this year.