The Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export) has launched their Market Intelligence Training Workshop road show across CARIFORUM working in partnership with national Business Support Organisations (BSOs) to build capacity for export within the regions private sector.

The concept of market intelligence is relatively new to the CARIFORUM Region. Firms have been operating on a basis of preferential treatment or dabbling in niche markets that have become available due mainly to their unique culture and locations. The true potential of regional brands has gone relatively unrealised, due to a lack of high quality information to aid in decision making. This information deficit has eroded the competitiveness of regional brands and has severely hampered firms’ ability to effectively penetrate regional and international markets.

The need for enhanced market intelligence has been continuously echoed by Business Support Organisations (BSOs) and firms across the region.  To ensure effective knowledge transfer, Caribbean Export, as part of its mandate under the 10th EDF Regional Private Sector Development Programme (RPSDP), and as a follow up to several initiatives aimed at building the capacity within the region and providing enhanced trade information services, will be facilitating the training of regional private sector firms on the compilation and use of Market Intelligence for growing business and exports. It is hoped that with this training, firms within the region will be better equipped to make informed decisions and ultimately increase their competitiveness in export markets.

During April training has been conducted in Saint Lucia and Dominica in partnership with the Saint Lucia Trade Export Promotion Agency (Saint Lucia TEPA) and the OECS Export Development Unit respectively and will continue through May in Belize, Suriname and Jamaica.

One participant, Desmond St. Rose of Back to Roots, commented that “the workshop has opened my eyes in terms of how I make decisions in seeking label verifications to enter the European market”.

“This is truly a significant advancement forward in the region, if we are to exploit the opportunities made available through trade agreements such as the EPA.  Firms need market data and accurate information in order to make the informed business decisions required for export growth of products and services” stressed Executive Director of Caribbean Export, Pamela Coke-Hamilton.

Between 2012 and 2013, with technical support from the International Trade Centre, Geneva over 40 regional experts were trained in preparation for these workshops. These experts were selected from the range of Trade and Business Support Organizations (BSOs) across CARIFORUM including national trade promotion agencies, manufacturing associations, chambers of commerce, and national coalitions of services industries amongst others. Those experts are now being drawn on to help deliver the sessions to the private sector.