Twelve CARIFORUM private sector firms and enterprises will be given the opportunity to pitch their business ideas to prospective investors, distributors and retailers in London during the Olympics this summer. This was revealed during the recent Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export) regional launch of the Break Point at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, St Michael, Barbados.

Caribbean Export views the CARIFORUM-EC Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) as a critical catalyst to achieving long term sustainable growth in the Caribbean region that can break the cycle of debt and economic malaise. The EPA opens up 27 markets in Europe to CARIFORUM companies, and Break Point brings them all to the table to help firms gain the opportunity to access them. It is on this premise that the Agency views Break Point as the ideal vehicle – using the EPA – to drive regional entrepreneurship.

“The objectives of this concept are to discontinue ineffective mechanisms previously employed, change the old ‘wineskins’ and implement new mechanisms, and cease conducting business as usual. The criteria for Break Point will focus on demand, innovation, brand strength, EPA application, speed to market and management”, said Christopher McNair, Manager – Competitiveness and Innovation during his presentation. “Break Point is the point at which we break from doing business as usual and begin the process of empowering our regional businesses. This is yet another step in Caribbean Export’s mission to do things differently and embrace innovation to achieve better results for regional firms”, McNair concluded.

During the competition, companies will be required to submit a video pitch, expression of interest and executive summary. Following the screening and firm selection, 30 companies will be identified for firm coaching followed by business pitches. Another round of selection will be undertaken on completion of all rounds of pitching. The final 12 firms will then pitch their ideas in London. At the end of the competition, all footage filmed will be produced into a reality television series to be aired across the CARIFORUM region.

Break Point is jointly funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID), who have come on board with 500,000 GBP to help drive the success of the initiative, and supported by the European Union’s (EU) 10th European Development Fund (EDF) Regional Private Sector Development Programme (RPSDP). The priority areas for Break Point are Agro-processing, Alternative Energy, Creative Industries, Fashion/Garments, Light Manufacturing, Professional Services, and Specialized Tourism.

For further information about Break Point please contact Mr. Christopher McNair, Manager – Competitiveness and Innovation at [email protected] or Tel: 246-436-0578.