Deadline Date:

Caribbean Export is seeking the professional services of a consultant whose primary goal will be to conduct an ecommerce feasibility study to determine if a regional ecommerce platform aimed at supporting artisans under the Design Caribbean umbrella brand can be successful.


Inspired by the passion and talent of both distinguished and aspiring artists, Design Caribbean showcases the very best of the region’s most beautiful handmade products and innovative designs. Developed by Caribbean Export as the platform through which the agency supports and promote top artisans, Design Caribbean has become the region’s leading contemporary design event displaying the Caribbean’s most elegant handmade designs in arts and craft.

Executed as a stand-alone trade show and as an umbrella brand used to participate in established trade shows across the globe, Design Caribbean provides artisans an additional channel through which they can promote and sell their products. Additionally, it plays an essential role in helping to promote the region’s creativity reflected in our Cultural Industries.

Like so many MSMEs operating in multiple sectors across the region, firms operating in the cultural industries face several challenges, and artisans are not immune to these. Challenges such as consistent quality, production capacity, marketing and access to appropriate financing, just to name a few. Design Caribbean was established in recognition of the several challenges that exist, limiting our Caribbean based artisans’ ability to take advantage of traditional distribution channels such as retails stores. Design Caribbean acts as a cluster approach to select and support the best artisans with the most significant potential of exporting their products and take advantage of Agreements such as the EPA.

The development of an e-commerce platform has been suggested as a solution to mitigate some the challenges artisans face. In addition to e-commerce’s applicability as a distribution channel to this industry, e-commerce can reshape entire business models. However, as we look closer at this opportunity, yet again we are faced with challenges. How many artisans have the internal capacity to operate an e-commerce platform? How many can afford the initial capital outlay to cover the significant investments in IT needed? The issue of human capacity also plays an important part; and not just in IT but in logistics and finance, all playing an important role in operating the back-end of any successful e-commerce platform.

The opportunities for our artisans to take advantage of e-commerce cannot be overlooked. The real question for Caribbean Export is what’s the best approach to be taken? Some firms are entirely equipped and are already taking advantage of being online, but many are not and cannot.

Many online models exist. There is the Etsy Shop ( a global marketplace for craft and design. It is an excellent way to export arts & crafts and reach more than 40 million buyers worldwide. We have also seen a few artisans using Amazon, and quite a few such platforms of Caribbean design and ownership have popped up in recent years. Additionally, there are examples of trade associations setting up e-commerce platforms on behalf of their clients to see their products online. Craft Scotland‐Scotland/ is such an example.

Therefore, the central question is what is the best approach to be taken by Caribbean Export that will allow our talented artisans to take advantage of being online, taking into consideration the vast constraints that exist at the firm level and within the Agency?


Interested parties are required to download the full terms of reference and submit proposals to Dr. Seon Levius – ICT Consultant and copied to Christopher McNair – Manager, Competitiveness and Export Promotion.

Deadline for submissions is 4:30pm Barbados Time on February 28, 2018

Download the full terms of reference here

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