“Nothing ventured, nothing gained” is a popular adage associated with taking risk. Caribbean people have often been accused for being risk averse, however there are a score of business owners across the region that are pushing boundaries to venture in to unchartered territories regionally and internationally. Caribbean Export has been fortunate enough to work with over 3000 firms over the past 5 years whilst implementing the Regional Private Sector Development Programme (RPSDP), supporting them in a number of ways to ultimately sell more of their products and services internationally.
The RPSDP started in 2011 and is funded by the European Union’s 10th European Development Fund (EDF). Now coming to a close the results are impressive as it relates to the participation of firms in a range of interventions designed specifically to support companies to export. From the export development of firms with training activities such as ProNET and the Direct Assistance Grant Scheme (DAGS) proposal writing workshops to study tours and industry focused forums and trade missions, the Agency has conducted approx. 260 programme-based activities and awarded €6.9million in financial assistance to firms across the 15 CARIFORUM States in grants.
Over the next few weeks’ we’ll be highlighting some of the firms that have taken advantage of the opportunities offered in a series of articles as part of our Primed for Success season. The first company that we shall look at is 10 Saints Brewery Ltd based in Barbados.
The brain child of serial entrepreneur Glyn Partridge, 10 Saints was established in 2010 and is a handcrafted beer that is aged in rum casks giving a distinctly unique flavour. In 2013, Glyn joined Caribbean Export on a mission to ANUGA one of Europe’s largest food and beverage trade fairs, as part of the Caribbean Kitchen pavilion that was funded by the RPSDP. Following this event 10 Saints was able break in to five new markets; Germany, Italy, Spain, Russia and Brazil and created a number of contacts that has enabled him to continue to expand his business further, even adding Red Square Vodka to his portfolio. Naturally, when the opportunity arose to attend ANUGA again in October 2015 Glyn sent in an application to the Agency and was successful in attending along with 12 other firms from across the region.
Returning to ANUGA for the second time enabled Glyn to build on relationships made from on the previous occasion and re-connect with those who may not have bought last time, but were still interested. As a result, new markets were opened for the Barbadian brewery with Denmark, China, Thailand and Australia with a few others waiting in the wings.
One of the key components to 10 Saints success is leverage. Firstly, leveraging the opportunity provided by Caribbean Export and secondly, leveraging the relationships built as a result. This coupled with a unique product which carries an interesting story has enabled 10 Saints to build a rapidly growing export business. As with all start-ups the challenges of accessing finance are of course a burden, but when the majority of the costs associated with attending international trade shows is covered by Agency’s like Caribbean Export, it’s shouldn’t be overlooked. Glyn offered some advice to new business owners “be realistic and objective about your product stacking up to international competition; be well resourced with a board of experienced mentors; travel and know the world and your market so that you can do something different and be niche, but know who your prospective buyers are both trade buyers and consumers.”
In our next article we’ll be looking at accessing finance and some of the ways firms can attract investment.