Business operators laud Invest SVG for hosting export readiness seminar
January 29, 2013
Business operators laud Invest SVG for hosting export readiness seminar

Business operators here have commended Invest SVG for hosting a two-day export readiness seminar last week.{{more}}

The seminar, held on Wednesday and Thursday, attracted 56 participants, six more than had been anticipated.

Over the two days, participants were educated on how to finance their company for growth, the importance of ICT to business efficiency, overcoming barriers to trade, export product appeal and packaging and the introduction of exportation.

Owner of Famous Richie’s food outlet, Richard Roberts, told SEARCHLIGHT such a seminar was “long overdue”.

“To me (the seminar) is giving business owners the opportunity to take advantage of what St Vincent has to offer, showcasing the competitive edge of exporting a product and at the same time, being creative. For instance, in my case, it gives ideas of coming up with different sources that are not available on the outside market.”

Another participant, Padella Sutherland, said she was elated to be a part of the seminar.

The small business operator said the seminar served as a guide for her as she plans to venture into exporting in the near future.

“It’s my first time attending such a seminar and I’m hoping that the information they share will assist me in the right way. So I’m really grateful for the organisers to host such function for us small business operators with big intentions,” she said.

Jamaican businessman Nelson Ward, who journeyed to St Vincent for the event, said the export readiness seminar is “a good initiative for the country’s economy”.

Speaking at the opening ceremony on Wednesday, Executive Director of Invest SVG, Cleo Huggins, said there is room for growth in terms of the country’s export performance.

Huggins revealed there is a “big gap” between exportation and importation in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

In 2010 and 2011, the export revenue for St Vincent and the Grenadines was less than $120 million. Imports, on the other hand, exceeded $700 million.

“We believe in St Vincent and the Grenadines there are many gems which are not known, even in St Vincent and the Grenadines, far less beyond the shores of St Vincent and the Grenadines.

“And we at Invest SVG are committed to revealing the secret, having not only Vincentians made aware of what is available in St Vincent and the Grenadines, but people in the Caribbean, people in Latin America, people in the United Kingdom, people in Europe and people in North America; we also want to make them aware of what is happening,” the executive director said.

She further implored business operators to take advantage of the markets that are available for trading and exporting.

“The markets have grown for us. We have ALBA and we have our own Caribbean market that we are not making very good use of.

“We have the European Union and when I say the European Union we don’t even have to go to Europe proper. Just up the street we have Martinique and Guadeloupe and we are not exploiting these markets…” Huggins added.

Huggins said as a small island developing state, it is not only important for St Vincent and the Grenadines to be exporting products but services are also “very valuable”.

Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Commerce and Trade Nathaniel Williams also addressed the opening ceremony.

Williams spoke of the sociocultural milieu and paradigm, which, he explained, helps to build a comparative advantage for businesses here to use as a launching pad for investments and exports.

Participants were presented certificates at the end of the two-day seminar. (AA)