The 4th CARIFORUM-EU Business Forum concluded on 28th September 2019 at the Union Halle in Frankfurt, Germany.

The event saw over 70 industry buyers and investors conduct some 150 business to business meetings with the sixty-three (63) carefully selected exhibitors from the Caribbean’s food, cosmetics and cultural industries who presented their products during the Authentic Caribbean Expo at the Union Halle. The consumer day recorded over 600 visitors who came to discover what the Caribbean has to offer. Those who were in attendance not only got to meet the makers of some of the Caribbean’s most promising export products and services, but they also learnt from Caribbean industry experts in a series of masterclasses.

Dr. Damian Cohall, the nutraceuticals expert from the University of the West Indies shared what makes the Caribbean unique in the health-based product market as well as the full range of products available. Natural products, for example, coconuts can be used in a wide range of products including cosmetics and the FMI reports that the natural cosmetics market is projected to grow at 4.9% volume CAGR through 2027. In 2017, the European cosmetics market was valued at €77.6 billion, making Europe the largest cosmetics market in the world and natural cosmetics accounts for around 5% of total market. The sector is currently growing at an annual rate of 8-10%.

The Global Rum Ambassador Ian Burrell delivered a captivating seminar on rum which saw spirit drink buyers gain a greater understanding of Caribbean rum. Rum is a success story for the Caribbean which has seen the Dominican Republic become the largest exporter of rum in CARIFORUM, exporting almost 70million euros in rum products to the EU.

In the creative industries area Jerome Hamilton from Headline and Camille Abrahams from Animae Caribe led a conversation with European industry players on how Caribbean film, animation and music can be positioned and infused with European entertainment.

But a question that was posed during a presentation on the first day of the event was “what happens next?”

Caribbean Export announced it is working on a business to business portal that will allow primarily those outside of the Caribbean to find and source authentic Caribbean goods and services from the region.

“Connecting Caribbean producers and service providers with regional and international buyers is central to supporting export growth. And whilst hosting events like the 4th CARIFORUM-EU Business Forum and the Authentic Caribbean Expo are strategic in terms of building relationships we have to be able to continue supporting our exporters after the event” informed JoEllen Laryea, Senior Advisor – PR and Marketing at Caribbean Export.

Ms. Laryea shared how the Agency will continue to develop the business to business portal by building a critical mass of Caribbean suppliers, before launching a promotion to attract buyers to the platform that are looking to source authentic Caribbean goods and services.