Andrea King, Director, Barbados Cultural Industries Development Authority at the Capacity Building workshop facilitated by the Barbados Cultural Industries Development Authority at the PomMarine hotel.

Leveraging opportunities from the EU

Andrea King, Director, Barbados Cultural Industries Development Authority has revealed the recent project that the Barbados Cultural Industries Development Authority is managing on behalf of the Ministry of Culture, Sport and Youth has gained critical market research intelligence to conduct business in the European market.

While speaking on Tuesday at the Capacity Building workshop facilitated by the Barbados Cultural Industries Development Authority at the PomMarine hotel, she explained, “The title of the project is ‘Enhancing the export Capacity of Barbadian Cultural Practitioners’ with a specific focus on visual arts and fashion. We have seen state support for music through the crop festival, we have seen support for other art forms through the Crop Festival and NIFCA, but in terms of strategic support of fashion and visual arts we have not had that before from a state agency in quite this way. The BIDC would have been doing work in fashion to help position it in the International market, also NIFCA through different programmes.

However, this project enables Barbados to focus exclusively on the European Union market particularly because of the Economic Partnership agreement and this is where the fund came from through a stand by facility for the Economic Partnership Agreement that the EU has with Cariforum…”

The Director continued, “The project enabled a Barbadian visual artists and fashion designers to do market research and market intelligence within Europe. The visual artist would have attended art week in Madrid and the Fashion Designers would have gone to a trade event in London called Pure London and visited museums. The Pure London trading event was an education in itself and Barbadian designers benefited greatly understanding how fierce the competition is and understanding critically they have a competitive edge because of the Barbadian design Aesthetic.

“While in London designers also took the opportunity to observe boutiques, and understand production quality.

“I’m thrilled about this project in that we called on Caribbean expertise in terms of consultants in Barbados that is key because we can use the knowledge base that we have here instead of relying on knowledge outside of the region to inform. We have the knowledge here to help develop these sectors. Also, with the market research and market intelligence that we were able to do in Madrid and in London it will help position the products of the cultural practitioners in that market…”

King highlighted, “Another platform that will help position products anywhere in the world is an e-commerce platform and that is another component of the project that has been completed, we are at the moment testing the site to ensure it works smoothly. We will soon launch the ecommerce platform, and that is one way in which we will be selling the products of the visual artist and fashion designers in the project at first and then open it to wider Barbados.” (NB)

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