by Emmanuel Joseph
Three Barbadian manufacturing companies have won international technical assistance designed to boost their exports across the globe, through a $40 million Trust Fund from the Republic of Korea.
They are Purity Bakery, Jays Enterprises and Choo’s Enterprises.
In an exclusive interview, Division Chief for Technical Assistance and Strategic Partnerships of the Inter-American Investment Corporation, Jorge Roldan, told Barbados TODAY this afternoon, that his agency had asked companies in Barbados to submit business plans with a view to obtaining the help.
Roldan said the three enterprises that prepared the best plans were coached and assisted by the Cave Hill School of Business, Scotia Bank, the Barbados Manufacturers Association and the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation.
The IIC top official said the companies, if they requested it, would also be able to acquire low-interest loans of between $100,000 and $600,000.
He pointed out that the winning firms were invited to elaborate on their business plans at an Exporters’ Forum at the Cave Hill School of Business today.
“How we came about inviting these three companies, was because we have a series of technical assistance products, that we call value added products that provide support to small and medium sized enterprises to help them improve their capacity to compete in the global economy,” he disclosed.
The IIC division chief told this newspaper, his agency, which is affiliated to the Inter-Amereican Development Bank, also provided financial services such as loans and equity investment to SMEs to enhance their export capacity.
He said that apart from the technical assistance programme known as Finpyme ExportPlus, the three local businesses now also stand to benefit from IIC’s other products such as Finpyme Diagnostics, a two-phase initiative that identifies areas presenting management challenges and provides individual or group technical assistance; Finpyme Family Business, which promotes good governance in family business; and Finpyme Integrity, which encourages a more robust and transparent business environment.
“Finpyme ExportPlus … is a programme that follows and supports the Aid-For-Trade Initiative for the World Trade Organisation. The WTO launched [that] a few years ago, seeking to improve three basis things. There are three pillars and we found a way to support one of them,” the consultant added.
“The three pillars [include] improving infrastructure. If companies want to export, there is a need for improved infrastructure — ports, airports, railroads, communications in general to help the products get to market.”
Roldan identified the second pillar as regulation, which includes support for free trade agreements and lowering of barriers for trade between countries.
“The third pillar, which is the one that we are working on, is improving competitiveness. This has to do with how we can get companies to become more competitive in the global economy…
“The first one is helping companies obtain certifications for export. If you want to export to the United States, you require certain certification. If you want to export to Europe, different certification. The second main activity is helping companies improve their operational processes.” emmanueljosephbarbadostoday.bb