Over Fifty SMEs from across the OECS will showcase their products and services at the Specialty Caribbean Expo to be held at the Daren Sammy Cricket Ground from March 9 – 12. They are being supported by the OECS Commission through its Competitive Business Unit – CBU. The Expo, which is being held under the theme: “A Unique Buying Experience”, will feature high quality, innovative products and services of the region.
The OECS CBU is collaborating with St. Lucia’s Trade Export Promotion Agency (TEPA) and Ministry of Commerce in staging the Specialty Caribbean Expo. Marlon Marie, acting head of the CBU said: “The Specialty Caribbean Expo is a clear manifestation of regional cooperation as it brings together the OECS and one of the leading trade promotion agencies, working with SMEs and governments in all Member States in this most extensive engagement.” Marie says the Expo serves as a platform to show the output of the various sub-components of the private sector programme under the Economic Integration and Trade of the OECS Region Project funded by the 10th European Development Fund (EDF) and the governments of the OECS.
“For us, this is a most important and critical milestone for which we owe a great debt of gratitude to the EU and the governments of Member States as we continue to build the competitiveness of our SMEs to take full advantage of trade opportunities in the single space of the Economic Union.”
Specialty Caribbean Expo will facilitate networking between exhibitors, importers, buyers, distributors, wholesalers and relevant trade agencies in search of new products and services. Featured Sectors include Information Technology (IT), Music, Agro-Processing and Agri-Business, Fashion, Professional Services, Film, and Construction. Approximately 150 exhibitors from the OECS will meet and engage buyers from the UK, Canada, USA, Guadeloupe, Trinidad, Jamaica, Barbados, Martinique and Saint Lucia. Local buyers include major hotels on the island, Massy Stores, Massy Distribution, and Sea Island Cotton Shop.
The OECS Commission will use the opportunity of the Expo to formally launch several of its major outputs from the 10th EDF Programme, including a Music Compilation from a Regional Song Writers Camp, a new online management information database system for the private sector, three (3) films in production by regional film makers from its film development programme, as well as a video on cultural development in Member States.
In addition to exhibiting their products and services, the Expo provides a unique opportunity for exhibitors and others to attend master-classes and workshops on key developmental and trade issues. The Expo will feature an Entertainment Segment where emerging talent in music and fashion will be showcased to buyers from Europe and North America. Service providers in the ICT sector will also have an opportunity to build interest among potential consumers of their services.
The opening day, Thursday 9th March, will be a dedicated Buyer Day. It will culminate with a Business Mixer. Business to Business (B2B) meetings are scheduled to optimize the level of networking between exhibitors and buyers throughout the four day exposition. Key partners assisting TEPA with the mobilization of Buyer Missions are the OECS Commission, the British Caribbean Chamber of Commerce (BCCC), and Conseiller en Développement International.