Barbados must develop a brand, one that promotes reliability, cost effectiveness, and high standards, and once developed, we must adhere to it in everything we do in this country.

Industry Minister, Donville Inniss expressed these sentiments this morning at the official launch of the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation???s (BIDC) Going Global, a new programme aimed at boosting Barbados??? export earnings, at Bagnall???s Point Gallery, Pelican Craft Centre.

Stating that ???we must be very clear by what we mean by the Barbados brand and stick to it???, Mr. Inniss reasoned that for every service and product provided, whether for local consumption or for those who visit our shores, the Barbados brand must resonate throughout our services and production.

Addressing several key stakeholders in industry and business drawn from the public and private sectors, as well as representatives of the productive, retail and tourism sectors, Mr. Inniss noted that our export branding messages must be aligned to promote a more holistic package of Barbados and all that it has to offer.

The Minister further revealed that over the past few months, the BIDC has been working with the Barbados Coalition of Service Industries, the Barbados Manufacturers??? Association, Caribbean Development Export, the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc., the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Barbados??? Embassies and Consulates, as well as the Barbados Institute of Management and Productivity, in defining the new, enabling framework to support Barbadian exporters in tackling these challenges.

To this end, he disclosed that at the end of December last year, total domestic exports including exports of sugar and petroleum were registered at BDS $554.6 million, up by 3.75 per cent against exports in 2013.

He pointed out that Barbados has been making some impressive inroads into the United States and European Union territories, adding that ???there is significant potential to be exploited with CARICOM and those countries with which we have preferential trade agreements???.

Chief Executive Officer at BIDC, Sonja Trotman, told attendees that the thrust of the Going Global initiative was to grow Barbados??? exports by a margin of 10 per cent, or BDS$55 million, by the end of 2016, while developing internationally competitive companies.

???This programme is designed specifically to target those companies best positioned to help Barbados in achieving this goal, through a three-tiered approach. We have already extended invitations to get on board to our larger manufacturing export firms. These are the companies with significant international experience and the capacity to increase their exports in the short term.???

She said the BIDC team will reach out to clients with a view to engaging them in training programmes; providing general business support and advice; as well as offer assistance under the Special Technical Assistance Programme, market research and market promotion.

???A Going for Gold workshop series will commence over the next few weeks to ensure that our companies are in tune with internationally accepted packaging and pricing strategies, as well as product design,??? she confirmed.

The CEO also added that her organisation was pursuing specific market opportunities in CARICOM, Canada, the New York tri state area, the UK, Cuba, Panama, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, Haiti and Africa.

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