Caribbean Export to boost international competitiveness for SMEs in the service sector

Caribbean Export to boost international competitiveness for SMEs in the service sector

Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export) — the regional trade and investment promotion agency — is set to host a training programme to enhance the export-readiness of small and medium-size enterprises (SME) in the service industry.

The Services Go Global (SGG) programme held in collaboration with the Belize Coalition of Service Providers, the Jamaica Coalition of Services Industries, and the Trinidad and Tobago Coalition of Services Industries is being funded by the European Union as part of the 11th EDF Regional Private Sector Development Programme.

Scheduled to commence on October 1, it will support 30 service providers operating in the business and professional services adn the information, communication, and technology (ICT) sectors within the region.

Ten entrepreneurs will be selected from each country to undertake the training and subsequently six participants from each country will be chosen to receive one-on-one coaching based on their performance during the workshop. The workshop will be facilitated by master trainers, Michelle Hustler (Barbados) and Dr Nsombi Jaja (Jamaica). The objective of the coaching is to provide them with feedback to complete their export plans.

The training will take place virtually over five days and will provide an opportunity for participating businesses to develop export plans, access regional and international markets and develop their global brands.

The SGG programme was developed to optimise the Cariforum region’s export of services by building the capacity of service providers to capitalise on opportunities under the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), CARICOM Single Market & Economy (CSME) and other existing trade agreements.

According to Allyson Francis, services specialist at Caribbean Export, there are currently a number of opportunities for small firms to enter new markets, and it is anticipated these will be increased once they have participated in the SGG programme.

“Services play a crucial role in the development of the economies in Cariforum, not just as a sector but also due to the significant impact on other sectors, such as the manufacturing sector. Caribbean Export is deeply committed to the development of the region’s services sector and it is hoped that firms large and small capitalise upon this opportunity to build their capacity to take advantage of the Cariforum-EU EPA, and importantly, during this pandemic build their resilience and their ability to support other sectors to better integrate into the new global economy,” she stated.

This human and institutional capacity-building initiative goes hand in hand with another joint project between the development agencies, which aims to enhance the sustainability of the national services coalitions that provide critical business support services to local service providers, including training, advocacy and export promotions.

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