Chief Executive Officer of Export Barbados (BIDC), Mark Hill, recently reported on the Corporation’s work during the Estimates Debate. The Corporation is working on several initiatives geared towards helping local micro, small and medium enterprises improve their export performance.
Hill made it clear that Barbadian companies cannot be confined to the local market, limited to 300,000 people.
“An export business, an export entrepreneur, is a strong business and a strong entrepreneur. The Barbados market is only 300,000 persons maximum. COVID has shown us that our baseload capacity within that market space is about US $4 billion. If we are going to grow our economy, our entrepreneurs and our enterprises must have an export-oriented mindset. It is critical! If we keep focusing inward, we are committing ourselves to grow weaker organizations,” the CEO explained.
Two of the initiatives raised:
- The development of a digital export bank – The Special Technical Assistance Program will be transformed into an export bank facility to provide financing for businesses seeking to export goods and services. When companies receive an order, they can go to the bank with that purchase order or proforma invoice and get the funds they need to fulfil it. Once the funds are paid, the bank will take out what it lent the company, and the company will receive the balance.
- Creation of an international food science center – This shared-use facility will help manufacturers of products such as juices and condiments build capacity for export. Export Barbados (BIDC) will analyze products, standardize formulae and work in conjunction with the Barbados National Standards Institute to make sure that products are at an international standard. This allows small businesspersons to focus on marketing. Similar shared-use facilities are being explored in various sectors, including fashion and furniture manufacturing.