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.