Participation in the recently concluded Specialty Caribbean Expo 2017 has proved to be “timely and fruitful” for the Vincentian delegation that attended last week in St. Lucia.
Invest SVG’s Investment Promotions Manager, Glender Francois, and Investment Promotions Officer, Andrew Phillips, accompanied the group, which comprised of collectives Vincyklus and Brand SVG, Erica’s Country Style, Pasta Enterprise, Kendra’s Aluminium Products, East Caribbean Metals, East Caribbean Group of Companies (ECGC) and VincyFresh; as well as a number of other local participants from the creative sector.
Francois explained that, in particular, the exposition was a “very fruitful experience” for the Vincentian agro-processers, light manufacturing and music participants.
“I think the expo was timely and fruitful for most participants, in terms of gaining exposure to competing products in various sectors and establishing linkages with relevant buyers,” she said.
“It was a spirited effort at displaying the creativity and innovation of companies in the OECS and our ‘export readiness’ status. In that regard I believe the expo achieved its objectives.”
The investment promotions manager also said that Invest SVG is hoping to encourage future participation by Vincentian business owners in expositions of a similar nature.
“We are looking forward to other expos, and also looking forward to organising our own locally-based exposition this year.”
Kerry-Ann Clarke, a Jamaican buyer/mentor/scout within the EDF Economic Integration and Trade (OECS) Fashion sector, described the exposition as a “great opportunity to network with like-minded individuals in the Caribbean”.
Clarke noted that designers were able to receive feedback and mentorship on their work, to brainstorm, and also give feedback on the challenges they face within the fashion industry.
She also explained that it was a timely opportunity for her to give designers feedback on how they can further develop their brands, with respect to manufacturing, marketing and sales.
“It is my opinion that the expo was a good event overall, especially taking into consideration it was the first of its kind… The OECS could consider a partnership with other trade show platforms like the MoDA series of events in the future. This would enable designers and artisans to travel further in the Caribbean to promote their goods and expand their market reach.”
Specialty Expo Caribbean, which took place from March 9 – 12, is a multi-sectoral trade event (intended to be an annual feature) that focuses on exporters from the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States member countries and Martinique.
Specialty Caribbean Expo gives participants the opportunity to not only interact and network with each other, but also with various stakeholders, policymakers, regional/international buyers and potential customers.
In the long term, the organisers of the exposition — St. Lucia Trade Export Promotion Agency and the OECS — are aiming to export the products and services of OECS/Martinique businesses under a collective brand to the UK market.