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Caribbean Food Production Industry Gets $469,000 from CDB

Carib Export Stock Photo
Carib Export Stock Photo

The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has pumped an additional $469,000 USD into the region’s specialty food sector via a Supplemental Grant to the Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export) under the Caribbean Aid for Trade and Regional Integration (CARTFund) Programme, which is funded by the Department for International Development (DfID).

The region’s specialty foods include a range of processed foods and beverages that typically can command a premium price due to characteristics such as their high quality ingredients, sensory appeal, branding, packaging, and origin, among others. Despite the global economic downturn, consumers continue to purchase premium products. In fact there has been an increase in demand for sophisticated food products as consumers become more knowledgeable about food preparation and seek new culinary experiences.

There are some 300 agro-processors in CARIFORUM who face a number of constraints that hinder their expansion and competitiveness, and following the development of the Regional Specialty Foods Sector Strategy and Action Plan in 2012, a number of recommendations were made to strengthen and expand this important export sector.  One of the primary activities, as a result of the allocation of these additional resources, will be to conduct a feasibility study and design of an in-market liaison service to support CARIFORUM Specialty Foods export to the EU and USA markets.  A service that provided greater exposure to the international requirements; wider distribution networks and marketing channels beyond the diaspora; and operational support such as centralized packaging or cold storage facilities inter alia, could be pivotal to our typically small and medium sized firms operating in this space.

While the export of products and services to the international market is a key contributor to the economic sustainability of our region, the opportunity for regional trade should not be over-looked.  As such, market research on the demand for selected specialty foods in CARIFORUM markets will be conducted to ultimately promote inter-regional trade by highlighting export opportunities right here within the region.  Markets to be covered include Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Saint Lucia, and Trinidad and Tobago.

Ultimately, the development of the CARIFORUM specialty food industry, through the effective implementation of the Strategy and Action Plan, should produce results and real change for an industry that produces high quality, unique foods that embody Caribbean culture and heritage.  However, the Action Plan will only succeed with the commitment, collaboration and coordination at the national level with the region’s business development and trade support organisations.

EOI: Angel Investment Engagement Training from CaribExport

The Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export) is inviting regional start-up companies and high growth potential MSMEs to participate in the first staging of its Angel Investor Engagement training for regional entrepreneurs. There will be a series of three trainings, the first to be held in Barbados on, June 22nd, 2015 for entrepreneurs located in Barbados, Trinidad, Guyana and Suriname. The other two will take place in Jamaica (to cover entrepreneurs in Jamaica, Belize, Haiti, Dominican Republic and The Bahamas) and Saint Lucia (to cover the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States OECS countries). The dates and venues for the trainings to be held in Jamaica and Saint Lucia will be announced at a later time. Please note however that entrepreneurs from all CARIFORUM Countries (Antigua & Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad & Tobago) are required to apply for the training using the deadlines indicated in this Expression of Interest notice.

This training will sensitize, educate, and train regional entrepreneurs in global best practices methods of engaging angel investors for investment.

In its mission to increase the competitiveness of firms in the region, Caribbean Export has taken note of the inability of regional firms to consistently gain access to the right mix of financing applicable to their stages of development as being a major hindrance to them achieving success. As such Caribbean Export has embarked on activities, in conjunction with our World Bank partners, to increase access to private equity financing, specifically Angel Investment to regional firms. One such activity involves training regional entrepreneurs on how to properly and successfully engage Angel investors when seeking to raise capital for their businesses.

caribexport logoFormal Angel investing within the region is a new occurrence; however, informal angel investing has been taking place within the region for many years. There are three formal Angel groups in the Caribbean; two in Jamaica (First Angels Jamaica and Alpha Angels), and one in Barbados (Trident Angels) and others planned for formation in the short and medium term. There are also a number of regional High Net Worth Individuals (HNWIs) performing angel type activities outside the auspices of a formal angel group.

Caribbean Export will sponsor a representative from twenty (20) CARIFORUM firms to participate in this event. The aim of this initiative is to build the capacity of those selected to strategically target, engage and properly pitch to regional/international angel investors.

This EOI is targeted to, but not limited to both start-ups and established firms who are actively seeking angel capital, and also firms that are exporting or have export potential in both goods and services.

Interested persons must submit all required documentation to Caribbean Export Development Agency.

All Expressions of interest should be submitted no later than June 5th  2015 4:30 pm Barbados time, by email only and in English to Mr. Kevin Jones, Caribbean Export – Advisor; Access to Finance at email

The criteria for participating in this initiative are listed below:

Firms must submit: 

  • Completed Expression of Interest (EOI) application form
  • An Executive Summary of your Business Plan/ Business Model (1page max)
  • A Letter of Commitment:
    • Indicating a willingness to provide Caribbean Export with information on your progress in seeking angel investment.
    • Demonstrating intent to use the training as a tool to target regional angel groups/ investors for funding.

Please note that the support that Caribbean Export will be providing to each of the 20 successful candidates to participate in this Business Summit is limited to:

  • Direct economy airfare for one person
  • Accommodation and daily stipend for one person (based on European Union guidelines)

The OECD defines a high-growth enterprise as a firm with an “average annualised growth in employees (or in turnover) greater than 20% a year, over a three-year period, and with ten or more employees at the beginning of the observation period.”

Expression of Interest Angel Investor Engagement Training for Entrepreneurs Final

Investor Engagement for Entrepreneurs Flyer and Agenda Final

Entrepreneur Investor Engagement EOI Application Form Final

Fruity, florally, nutty and earthen, Caribbean cocoa inspires the world’s chocolatiers

chocolateThe popularity of dark chocolate throughout the world has surpassed just being a flavour of the month. The rapid growth in demand for fine flavour cocoa, primarily used in the sought- after dark chocolate, over the past five years, is set to continue bringing lucrative benefits to the Caribbean’s fine cocoa industry.
How the region can fully exploit this enhanced business growth through market penetration will be explored at the 3rd CARIFORUM-EU Business Forum, being hosted by the Caribbean Export Development Agency, on April 15 – 16, in Montego Bay, Jamaica.
The world cocoa market distinguishes between two broad categories of cocoa beans: ordinary or bulk beans (around 85% of all cocoa worldwide) and fine flavour beans, which are the defining component of high quality chocolate. Together, Latin America and the Caribbean produce 80% of the world’s fine flavour cocoa and, with six of the recognised 17 countries in the world that produce and export the exotic product come from the Caribbean, the collection of small islands have earned their place to feature prominently on the world stage.
As the drive for increased consumption is coming from the more mature markets of Western Europe, North America and Japan, producers need to be aware of the specific requirements and expectations of these buyers and importers to make the most of market opportunities.
“We need to look at how to recognise and encourage the proper growing and processing of fine flavour beans and how to build links between small farms and artisan chocolate makers. Both sides can benefit from the sourcing of unusual and interesting flavours from very local sources and the production of great chocolate,” says founder of the British company Duffy’s Chocolate Duffy Sheardown, who will be a speaker at the upcoming CARIFORUM-EU Business Forum.
The complex flavours of cocoa beans grown in the region have also become increasingly popular, as major chocolate manufacturers in Europe and other markets are now offering premium chocolate products in their range.
For example, cocoa from Jamaica has been described as ‘fruity’, cocoa from Grenada as ‘fruity, florally and earthen’ and cocoa from Trinidad as ‘nutty and winey’. Like coffee or wine, the taste of cocoa is unique to a region and can vary from season to season.
The 3rd CARIFORUM-EU Business Forum will further explore trends and innovations in the Caribbean’s specialty cocoa industry and provide a platform for companies to network and find out about trade and investment opportunities. The Forum is being organised in collaboration with the ACP Business Climate facility (BizClim) and seeks to promote trade between Caribbean businesses and those in Europe, enable public-private sector dialogue and support the business climate reform agenda in the Caribbean. The agro-processing industry (cocoa, herbs and spices) will be specially featured along with music and higher education.

Caribbean Export Awards €700,000 to Agri-business and Handicraft Firms in Haiti and the Dominican Republic

The Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export) has awarded €700,000 to 31 firms and Business Support Organizations (BSOs) in Haiti and the Dominican Republic via the Binational Grants Programme, as part of the Haiti/Dominican Republic Binational Programme, Commerce Component, funded by the European Union under the 10th European Development Fund (EDF).
The announcement was made at the launch and reimbursement workshops in the Dominican Republic and Haiti, on 16th and 20th March, 2015, respectively. Grant contracts were awarded to 21 Dominican organizations for an approximate value of €500,000, and to 10 Haitian firms for an approximate value of €200,000.
The resources seek to benefit companies and BSOs from the agribusiness and handicraft sectors that are currently exporting or that have the potential to export their products, with the purpose of increasing their competitiveness by increasing production capacity, developing market and export strategies, participating in international fairs, obtaining quality certifications, among others.
Opening remarks at the launch event in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic were given by Ambassador Alberto Navarro, head of the EU Delegation to the Dominican Republic; Mr. Antonio Vargas, National Authority of the European Development Funds and Director of the General Directorate of Multilateral Cooperation (DIGECOOM); and Mr. Escipión Oliveira, Deputy Executive Director of the Caribbean Export Development Agency.
In Port-au-Prince, Haiti, opening remarks at the launch were delivered by Ambassador Javier Niño Pérez, Head of the EU Delegation to Haiti who congratulated the grant recipients expressing that they “presented solid projects that reflect a vision and a development strategy for the medium and long term that will contribute to the building of a more dynamic Haitian economy”. Mr. Charles Jean Jacques, National Authority of the European Development Funds (BONFED); and Mr. Jean-Claude Merine, Deputy Programme Manager of Caribbean Export Development Agency also addressed the attending audience.
The reimbursement workshops were conducted by Mr. Horacio Alvarez, Private Sector Expert at the Caribbean Export Development Agency, with the participation of more than 50 executives and representatives of Dominican and Haitian beneficiary firms and BSOs.

Using Hashtags on Instagram is Must for Business

Instagram is one of the fastest growing social platforms, but do you know how to use it?

While many like to use it as it’s less crowded than Facebook to share photos with friends, if you plan to use it for business then you have to know how to use it correctly.

Using hashtags on instagram is a must.
Using hashtags on instagram is a must.

Instagram is a mobile app for sharing photos around common themes. You use hashtags aka the number or pound sign (#) to tag your images so others can find them.

If you have a brand or offer a service then your images need to be seen by people who could be your next client. How will they find you? You must know what hashtags they use commonly and are interested in.

Let’s take an easy one like travel.

While you can fill the status with “having lots of fun in Antigua”. If you are trying to promote your travel agency, hotel or some other travel-related venture , maybe even luggage then you need to include hashtags such as #Caribbeantravel #picoftheday #instatravel #instapic, #luxury, #luggage.

Make sure Antigua is written with a hashtag in front of it like this #Antigua. Key words should be tagged every time.

Do a search for the top Instagram hashtags in general and also in your area of interest.

Like Follow Lead

As you can’t include an active link in your status for people to click through to your site then you must capture their interest to encourage them to follow you and connect with your on your business platform.

Get more helpful tips on using the top social media platforms correctly in Like Follow Lead: Mastering Social Media for Small Business.

Find me on Instagram @trulycaribbean .