July 24, 2009
Re-Discover trade show success, says Browne

St Vincent and the Grenadines staged a virtual coup d’état at the recent “re Discover” trade show in Barbados, thanks to the foresight and drive of the National Investment Promotion Incorporated (NIPI).{{more}}

“We wanted to make it a show with a difference… our presence was definitely felt at “re Discover”,” says Shanna Browne of NIPI.

That, it certainly was!

It was the 6th edition of the important trade show, where over 100 exhibitors representing over 20 Caribbean destinations were on show at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Conference Centre.

St Vincent and the Grenadines, through the co-ordination and financial backing of NIPI and the EU, was able to have a contingent of 22 delegates, including representatives from the Tourism Authority, the Hotel and Tourism Association, the Ministry of Culture, the Chamber of Industry and Commerce and several local businesses.

It was a huge difference to the past, when basically, only the Hotel and Tourism Association would attend.

All those who attended spoke glowingly of the opportunities for business promotion and expansion, which made the EC$60,000 budget, granted by the EU to NIPI, money well spent.

From hotels and Tour Operators, which were able to create on-the-spot packages for potential visitors, to the opportunity for companies like Mountain Top Spring water, Pasta Select, Montaque Products and Erica’s Country Style to show off the great quality products that this country has to offer, “we all came away with a measure of success,” is how Andrew Woodroffe of Pasta Enterprises put it.

Outstanding entrepreneur Erica Mc Intosh reasoned that the market of St Vincent and the Grenadines is saturated with products from around the region and the world, while wonderful products from this country still struggle to find a footing outside.

“We can’t get our products in Barbados,” she used as an example. But since the event, many of the entrepreneurs are in the process of doing just that.

As she hailed the efforts of NIPI, Mc Intosh said that shows like “re Discover’ are “absolutely necessary” for small manufacturers, but are financially very difficult to attend.

Mc Intosh, who at the time when she was interviewed for this article was planning to attend a similar type of event in New York, explained that a booth for that show costs US$5000.

Hence, if small businesses are to catapult themselves into the world’s market places, “the financial backing is really important.”

One key element to the overall success of the St Vincent and the Grenadines delegation, according to Anthony Theobalds of the Ministry of Culture, was the way the theme of all that St Vincent had to offer was inter-woven into the individual presentations.

He was also grateful to NIPI for ensuring that the Ministry of Culture was involved.

He said that the Ministry of Culture was able to orchestrate the booths and the presentation of the Vincentian products with a flair that conveyed the variety of festivals and craft in St Vincent.

The emerging star of local pan music Rodney Small of the Ministry of Culture was also on hand to add to the “atmosphere of the Vincentian presence,” Theobalds added in his report on the trade show.

The newly formed SVG Tourism Authority also used the opportunity to announce themselves to their counterparts and to promote this country as a vacation destination.

The efforts of NIPI were greatly praised by Victoria Elliodore, Marketing Officer at Tourism Authority.

“For NIPI, public/ private partnership is very essential for the growth of our local businesses,” said Shanna Browne.

She stressed that while NIPI will continue to target direct foreign investment into the various local industries, it also sees itself as being able to assist local entrepreneurs to find space to expand and succeed amidst the challenges of the day.

NIPI, in conjunction with many of the stakeholders who attended “re Discover”, is planning further investment missions for 2009.