The High Export Potential Programme (HIEXPO) which was recently launched by Invest SVG, will raise the quality of local export products.
The programme, which is the brainchild of management of Invest SVG, is supported by the Caribbean Export Development Agency (CEDA).
Deputy Executive Director of Invest SVG, Nadine Agard-Juillerat, said Invest SVG wants small and large enterprises to achieve their full potential; hence the task of the organisation is to make that possible.
She said that Invest SVG would focus on export development this year. “Export development has a lot of ramifications; trade, GDP ramifications, food security. Export development carries weight.”
“HIEXPO programme entails giving exporters who have high export readiness a “push” to help them to get outside and find markets", she added.
Mrs. Agard-Juillerat thanked Caribbean Export Development Agency (CEDA) for immediately embracing the new programme.
CEDA is an agency well known in the region for assisting Caribbean businesses and supporting their visions through to becoming a reality.
Also addressing the launch held at the conference room of Invest SVG was Chairman of the Board, Anthony Regisford.
Mr. Regisford said the programme is fully endorsed by the Board of Directors, and expressed his delight that Invest SVG has seen it fit to emphasise or give a lot more focus on the question of export development.
He said CEDA support would give the programme outside objectivity.
“CEDA has been doing this sort of development work for a number of years now. They have seen some success stories which we are going to try to emulate here in Saint Vincent".
He continued: “We only need one or two people, it is not as if we are trying to turn every potential exporter into a success; that will be great, but realistically speaking if we get excellence from one two or three exporters who can reach into regional and international markets, put products on the map; put the name of Saint Vincent on the map, it sets the trend, sets the pace and makes people believe that these things are possible”.
He said he was excited that Invest SVG was leading the charge with such a programme. “I hope that the people who eventually emerge to be taken on board and to be shepherded, I hope that they going to make us proud.”
The challenges regarding exporting products and also the import bill are a concern for Executive Director of Invest SVG, Mrs. Annette Mark. She said Saint Vincent and the Grenadines has raw material and as a nation we have to work and also aim towards reducing those figures.
Mrs. Mark said that Invest SVG plans to work with entrepreneurs. “We plan to hold your hand. We started a number of training courses, workshops in areas such as packaging, pricing, marketing, elevator pitchand business plans”, she said.
These are being done to prepare local entrepreneurs to not only produce products for the local market but also on the international level as well.
CEDA representative, Mr. Chris McNair, said his organisation was happy with Invest SVG’s approach as they have seen success stories in other Caribbean islands using this method. He said the High Export Programme is something Jamaica started 15 years ago under a different name.
“It’s a very tried and tested model and it does a couple things. It demonstrates what is possible, it creates a pathway for companies that are looking to develop their business and looking to export so you have a model laid down for companies to come and see what is possible”, he said.
Mr. McNiar added that the programme allowed business entities like Invest SVG to understand where the support is needed “so they get a sense of what are the services and intervention they need to offer to those companies to support them”.
The programme, he said, allowed Caribbean export and Invest SVG to develop a long term relationship with the company. “We assess you, we find out where the gaps are and we and the partners provide support and when we think you are ready, we take you to the market” . We then introduce you to the kind of channels that allows you to maximise on your products. The programme is about finding the diamonds in the rough”.
Invest SVG also launched "Everything Vincy Plus Expo 2018", scheduled to take place from October 23-28, 2018 and the "Buy Local Campaign" which aims to promote the value of Vincentian products and services; to ascertain what makes a product Vincentian and to build awareness of said products and services.