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Manager, Export & Business Development BIDC Paula Bourne as she highlighted the benefits of the Buyers’ Programme to local manufacturers.

BIDC Buyers’ Programme opens doors, facilitates new opportunities for local manufacturers

LOCAL entrepreneurs were given a prime opportunity yesterday to showcase their goods and services to local and international buyers.

The fourth Buyers’ Programme now in its fourth year, is being hosted by the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation in collaboration with the Barbados Manufacturers’ Association and the Caribbean Export Development Agency. It is intended to be a supporting activity for BMEX which takes place over the weekend.

BIDC Manager, Export & Business Development, Paula Bourne was speaking to the media on the sidelines of a programme where she highlighted the myriad of opportunities that were available under one roof at the Bagnall’s Point Gallery yesterday morning. The event included pre-arranged meetings or matches between buyers and local manufacturers and services companies; brunch and a sampling and networking session.  

She noted that there have been as many 40 Barbadian companies that have participated in the buyers’ programme over the years, and over 30 distributors. “If we add this year’s numbers we would say we have approximately 60 buyers that would have participated in the programme by the end of 2019. What we expect is that networking takes place and business opportunities are derived from it. We know that from the past, we have had contracts signed by some of our manufacturers and we’ve also had long lasting relationships between our manufacturers and some of our buyers.”

“Our mandate is to increase the value and the range of exports that we export from Barbados. We have several programmes that we initiate to be able to assist the manufacturing sector to do so – one of which is this programme.”

She also stressed the importance of the “Export Readiness” Programme which takes manufacturers through the paces of export, particularly across the region.

“As it relates to the CARICOM market, it is our major export market. At the end of the Export Readiness programme we give the opportunity for the participants of that programme to visit a CARICOM market of choice and they get the opportunity to go through the paces of experience. We also recognise of course that it takes a while to develop a relationship with a buyer within a market in order to really have an impact. So we don’t expect any quick fixes but we believe that our developmental role is such that this type of role is important if we want to see the benefits down the road.”

“The CARICOM market is one that we target for our start-up manufacturers who wish to export because it is a smaller market. We also look at the Diaspora. So we will take our manufacturers through CARICOM to many of the markets in the region, then to the US the UK and Canada.

Yesterday approximately 25 local businesspersons had an opportunity to meet buyers from a number of countries including the United Kingdom, the USA, Antigua & Barbuda, Belize, Dominica, Grenada and other countries in CARICOM.

Success in the Byers’ Programme and an increase in exports can potentially result in employment growth, import replacement, export earning and improvements in the industrial sector’s contributions to Barbados’ Economic stability and transformation.

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