Special attention for seven businesses

BMA Executive Director (centre) with Beverages Caribbean Limited’s Henry Yearwood (left) and BMEX Coordinator Ann Johnson.
BMA Executive Director (centre) with Beverages Caribbean Limited’s Henry Yearwood (left) and BMEX Coordinator Ann Johnson.

For the next year, seven new local products will be receiving special attention from the Barbados Manufacturers’ Association after having been chosen from a field of about 30 for the BMEX 2013 product showcase.

Executive Director of the BMA, Bobbi McKay, revealed this afternoon at a Barbados Manufacturers’ Expo briefing that they had sent out calls to companies to see what new products were out there in January and February, and the response had been good.

From the core that responded, she said they had selected seven, “ranging from perfumes to plant food” for the new addition to BMEX — the product showcase.

Coordinator of the showcase, Sade Stalberg, said they came up with the idea so Barbadians could see the new products being produced in the island, as well as to draw more people to the expo.

“A lot of people were of the opinion that it was the same old companies with the same old products every year, but we at the BMA knew they were people out there doing new stuff and we wanted to know who these people were and give Barbadians an opportunity to see who these people were and what products were being produced.”

Among those chosen were Angela Hall who developed sauces; Owen Walrond for his organic plant products; Debbie Waithe, who created a perfume from khus khus; Nadine Benn, who created new baking mixes; Kimtara Clarke for her gluten-free high fibre snacks from coconut, and Shanon Clarke, who created a mobile app.

Hall said she had been producing her products under the brand, The Veggie Gourmet, since 1999 for persons who had health issues and wanted to eat healthily. She said she had also created a dinner loaf, like a meatloaf, but without the meat.

Walrond who is the CEO of a third generation plant company, Walrond’s Creations, said he created the plant fertilisers and repellent for plants because of the needs of customers of his family’s nursery.

Similarly, Waithe of Jaz Naturals, said the idea for her perfume was born out of the observation that Bajans bought foreign perfumes from everywhere and often the scents were strong and overpowering. She said she thought about, asked “Why not?” and created a local perfume that works with the body’s natural scent.

McKay said the seven products, the final one whose appearance at BMEX is still being finalised, will have their own area. Additionally, she said they were planning to help develop these ideas into full-fledged products for the market over the next year.

BMEX begins next Thursday, June 27, with the exhibition that would usually be held over Easter opening in the morning and having schools and buyers in on the first day. Fashion and entertainment will be on day two and the weekend, Saturday and Sunday, will feature activities including Bacchanal Calypso Tent, the 1688 Band, as well as the relaunching of the Barbados Community College’s fashion portfolio.

There are more than 140 exhibitors this year. (LB)

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