The Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export) has announced its inaugural awards programme the Caribbean Exporter of the Year Awards in recognition of the stellar contribution made by the regions exporters to the regional economy.
During the media launch held at the Agency’s headquarters in Barbados on January 26, 2015, Executive Director Pamela Coke Hamilton, stressed that “Now is the time to support our exporters and assist them to expand further, because in so doing, we are not only helping a firm increase its bottom line, but moreover we are impacting the economic well-being of our entire region and our people”. The Executive Director brought to the audience’s attention that in 2013 the total CARIFORUM exports were estimated to be US$51 billion, with the average contribution of exports to GDP was 17% for goods and 36% for services.
“At this period in our region’s history, where economic growth is projected to be marginal for 2015, Caribbean Export believes in the power that exporters have to contribute to sustainable growth,” she commented further.
The Agency’s launch of the Caribbean Exporter of the Year Awards is supported by the European Union as part of the 10th EDF Regional Private Sector Development Programme and is hoped to foster and strengthen a greater export culture throughout the Caribbean by giving significant recognition to the winners and sending a strong message to current and potential buyers, investors or other stakeholders that these exporters are market leaders and successful business persons.
Charge d’Affaires of the Delegation of the EU to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Silvia Kofler, congratulated Caribbean Export for taking the initiative and “challenged the private sector to take this initiative and to capitalise on possibilities for export. Even with capacity issues the private sector needs to take advantage of the provisions of the EPA”.
Also at the launch event, Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development, Donville Inniss disclosed that his Ministry had recently taken on responsibility for the Economic Partnership Agreement, and intended to work closely with the EU and Caribbean Export to ensure that greater access to the European market would become a reality for exporters.
There are six awards available, and they are: Emerging Exporter of the Year; Young Exporter of the Year; Female Exporter of the Year; Green Exporter of the Year; Caribbean Exporter of the Year and a Special Award for Excellence in Services Exports. Full details on how to enter and the nomination process can be found on the Agency’s website and also from local Business Support Organisations.