KINGSTOWN, ST.VINCENT (Thurs, June 17, 2018): With St. Vincent and the Grenadines joining the regional thrust to stimulate export development, twenty-four small and medium enterprises (SMEs) recently took advantage of a two-day workshop designed to place them in a stronger position to compete on a regional and global level.
Invest SVG hosted the ‘Market Intelligence’ workshop on June 25 and 26, which was funded and facilitated by Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export) and the German Federal Enterprise (GIZ).
Caribbean Export Market Intelligence Advisor Zamani Moodie, in opening remarks, stressed the importance of the workshop – explaining that there is a direct relationship between market intelligence and export strategy development.
“Appropriate market intelligence is the missing link in our current regional business eco-system,” asserted Moodie.
“Unless our export strategy planning, and the decisions taken, is informed by reliable market intelligence, on what basis do we expect to be effective in increasing national and, by extension, regional exports?”
In addition to assessing participating SMEs’ export readiness, the workshop also focused on: selecting the ideal target market, identifying key requirements for market entry, developing a market entry strategy and sharing the exporting experiences/insights of key firms with regional and international markets.
Moodie further opined that St. Vincent and the Grenadines – like other countries within the region – has excellent products and services that “can compete in the global market”. Additionally, he acknowledged that the regional private sector has undertaken several initiatives over the years to prepare for the export market.
“However, what is often overlooked is the gathering of relevant information or market intelligence to guide their decision-making process, and truly set themselves apart from the competition…
“Having such competitive intelligence support may not automatically result in firms being able to increase their exports but it will go a long way to ensuring that when they do enter a new market, they are in a stronger position to compete.”
The market intelligence advisor also noted that SMEs and government entities must also “identify and select attractive markets based on global supply and demand trends, consumer patterns and – of course – market access for our products”.
Sanya Alleyne, Technical Trade Advisor (GIZ), described the workshop as “a timely and useful tool” that GIZ is enthused to be a part of.
Alleyne also emphasized that GIZ is focused on supporting Caribbean Export and the CARIFORUM Directorate in enhancing private sector awareness, participation and understanding of the business opportunities available under the framework of relevant trade agreements.
“This training is an instrument that can aid businesses in St. Vincent and the Grenadines to become further involved in trade across borders by enhancing their competitiveness and innovation, to become further integrated into regional and global value chains.”
The ‘Market Intelligence’ workshop, which is also being hosted around the region, was borne out of Caribbean Export’s mandate under the 11th EDF Regional Private Sector Development Programme to develop a regional trade and market intelligence system.
Also developed out of this mandate are several market research products and services that include: animated videos on CARIFORUM-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), regional EPA workshops, Caribbean Export intelligence portal, and market intelligence training for business support organizations.
Invest SVG’s Deputy Executive Director Nadine Agard-Juillerat also gave brief opening remarks on the opening day of the workshop.