The Barbados Investment and Development Corporation’s (BIDC) recent trade mission to St. Lucia and Grenada has been deemed a success, with officials suggesting it could lead to increased trade between the CARICOM nations.

The multi-sectoral mission, which took place from March 21 to 25, unveiled not only significant opportunities for business and investment between Barbados and the two countries, but it has generated a number of contracts and sales for several of the 15 Barbadian manufacturers who participated.

Among them were six companies identified by the BIDC as high-potential exporters who were venturing into export marketing for the first time and were able to secure contracts and sales.

The group, which comprised firms from Barbados’ construction, transport, wood and metal decorative products, food and beverage, apparel and accessories, renewable energy, and printing and graphic design services sectors, reported positive outcomes and lucrative prospects for enhanced commercial ties with the territories.

Even though some of the mission participants already have a significant market presence in Grenada and St. Lucia, they were able to strengthen their position with increased interest in their product offering.??

Mission Coordinator, BIDC Business Development Officer, Madeline Headley-Woodroffe, said participants were able to initiate discussions with prospective business partners, while showcasing their products and service offerings during the approximately 200 pre-arranged business-to-business (B2B) meetings.

They also got the opportunity to tour the Free Zone in St. Lucia and visit some food production and agro-processing facilities to gauge local production capabilities and explore joint venture possibilities.

Ms. Headley-Woodroffe added that the networking receptions gave St. Lucian and Grenadian officials the opportunity to taste "a slice of Barbados" with samples of local rums, rum cakes, meat products, condiments and sauces being offered.

In addition, the sessions allowed participants to forge relations with key representatives of the respective governments, business support organisations and business communities, who all extended a warm welcome and expressed a keen interest and desire to enhance commercial relations with Barbados.

The BIDC will continue to work with the participants to follow-up on these business opportunities and ensure that the initial in-market discussions translate into successful projects.

The presence of the Barbadian delegation attracted much attention and was covered extensively in both the print and electronic media with the Corporation’s newly rebranded export promotion strategy "Connecting with the World through Trade" taking the spotlight.

Beyond the business aspect of the visit, the BIDC took the opportunity to extend Barbadian goodwill with the donation of food and beverage products from several local companies to the Le Marion Senior Citizens Home in St. Lucia and Father Mallaghan’s House for Boys in Grenada.

Author: Andre Skeete/Jane Broome

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