The Barbados Investment and Development Corporation’s (BIDC) export market portfolio in the Caribbean and overseas is reaping success.

Chief Executive Officer of the BIDC, Basil Lavine, recently reported on the strides being made in this area, during a press conference at its Pelican House, St. Michael headquarters.

Noting that the world economies were still feeling the effects of the global economic crisis, the CEO, however, reported solid performances in sectors such as chemical materials and products, cement, paints, varnishes, condiments, spices and biscuits.

Mr. Lavine also gave details on the achievements in the area of specialty foods and beverages in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom markets.

Citing statistics, the CEO revealed that exports to the UK totalled $640,632 for the period April to December, as compared to $392,730 for the corresponding period last year – an increase of 63.1 per cent.

Mr. Lavine further stated that exports to the United States jumped by 47.6 per cent, which accounted for $2.5 million in revenue; while Canada, a market which was rebuilt by the BIDC, registered?? $546,341 in exports for the same period, as compared with $73,551 last year. This total represented an increase of 64.2 per cent.

Regarding small business development, the senior official said new business start-ups showed a steady growth from 17 in 2007, 21 in 2008 to 35 for the period 2009 up until March, 2010.

This, he added, accounted for increased employment levels which now stood at 91 new jobs. "I want to take this opportunity to thank those small business persons who, despite the difficulties, have stayed with it. One of the reassuring things I would like to convey is that the BIDC is always here to assist and facilitate the creation and expansion of new businesses, where the opportunities exist," Mr. Lavine stressed.

BIDC Board Chairman, Dr. Don Marshall, lauded the staff for their outstanding work over the last year in "arresting the decline of the manufacturing sector".

He added: "One of the lessons we are learning fairly quickly is that there are some recession proof business opportunities that persons in Barbados are beginning to recognise, as we have also witnessed a growth in small businesses and a concomitant rise in employment.??

"So, we thought it necessary at this time, to place an accent on the growth outcomes because, when we as a country talk about prospects for Barbados’ economic recovery and post recession development, we are really talking about concentration on small business development and exports.?? We are seeing some encouraging signs in both areas," Dr. Marshall opined.

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