Inability to meet high rental fees is forcing some Small Micro Enterprises (SMEs) to lose out on crucial exposure at the annual Barbados Manufacturers??? Exhibition, more commonly known as BMEX.
Stating that it costs over $500,000 to stage every year, the Executive Director of the Barbados Manufacturers??? Association (BMA), Bobbi McKay said that the BMA subsidised a lot of SMEs, since a lot of these ???would never be able to come to BMEX without our support as these companies cannot afford to pay $2,000 for a booth.???
She made these comments this morning at the launch of the 32-year-old Exhibition at Ocean Pure Restaurant at Divi South Winds, Beach Resort, Christ Church.??According to the Executive Director, strategic partners continue to be critical to the execution of BMEX and ???without their investment, commitment and foresight the BMA would not be able to pull off the annual event???.
She shared with her audience, which included investors, sponsors, key stakeholders and media personnel, that the BMA has to pay over $150,000 alone just for use of the building, and said they were ???thankful??? for their long-term partners.??In praising the young crop of entrepreneurs and manufacturers, the BMA Head stressed that ???they were really stepping up-to-the???plate??? and her organisation was ???extremely proud of them???.??
???We continue to be astonished by the number of young men and women who see the BMEX as the vehicle to introduce Barbadians to their talent and to their products??? This year is no different as we have a number of designers and a general cadre of entrepreneurs who will be a part of Barbadian business that we can all be very proud of,??? she maintained.
Meanwhile, President of the BMA, Carlene Nicholls has claimed that too many people are unaware of Barbadian products.??She explained that one aspect of the job that was becoming increasingly difficult and for which the Association needed general support was keeping a level playing field.
???In recent days we are once again faced with the increase in tariffs by some of our neighbours as a means of making it very difficult for our products to be favourably received in their markets???Yet we receive millions of dollars of their products annually. When we ask people to note their labels and choose local first, they, sometimes, have a hard time seeing the injustices being served to our manufacturers and our job market,??? she lamented.
The BMA President further added that it was not only a matter of national pride and patriotism but it was a matter of common sense.?????If we continue to support more than we export we will continue to have major problems. Others are protecting their borders while we seem content to leave our doors wide open and welcome all and sundry,??? she observed.