A First: e-Catalogue with Caribbean niche products for global shopping

Kingston, Jamaica – To celebrate the launch of Curated Bazaar, an intimate group of family and friends enjoyed a preview of arguably, the first of a kind e-catalogue as a Brunch ‘N’ Shop experience at Triple T’z Eatery at Annette Crescent, Kingston, where persons had traditional Jamaican brunch and shopped via the Curated Bazaar’s e-Catalogue featuring sparkling Jamaican artisans and authors. Twelve cottage businesses, in diverse areas, were showcased and shoppers were afforded an enhanced and convenient option for owning island gems, unique yet budget-friendly, while providing small vendors with a gateway to the global market place.

According to founder, Caribbean Fortress’s Gale Peart, niche products from Caribbean countries will be featured for a full year, season-to-season in Curated Bazaar. Jamaica, the founder’s country of birth, was selected as the inaugural place. Yvonne & Errol Anderson, proprietors of Triple T’z Eatery, best known for Sunday brunch, welcomed the opportunity to collaborate on this innovative project with Caribbean Fortess’s Gale & Kevin Peart.

The Pearts felt, “…an e-shopping guide with sparkling West Indian items was missing from the global landscape and would widen offerings for shoppers to conveniently preview and plan for gift selections.” The Curated Bazaar e-Catalogue platform bridges the gap to have a happy outcome all around for the shopper, local vendor and organizer. Plus, e-exhibitors will gain valuable insights, via social media metrics, to determine ahead of a physical bazaar which item(s) resonates best with their targeted audience and to gauge inventory accordingly. The 2014 e-catalogue will run from December 7 to 25 at http://caribbeanfortress.tumblr.com.

The works of sparkling (rising and established) stars spurred interest and sales. There was something for everyone – from a limited edition bust of Garvey for collectors to a Marcus Garvey-branded pencil package for as little as J$350 and Caribbean children’s literature by award winning author Diane Browne who was on hand to autograph copies of her popular Island Princess in Brooklyn book. Friends of the Rastafarian faith and heritage enthusiasts reveled in Rastafari and Jamaica Journal publications.

The eclectic gift collection also included brilliant abstract art by Alicia Thomas to Bridget Sandals gift certificates, Avant Academy’s music lessons to a gift of Natalie Murray’s Gentle Detox programme for those desirous of making a lifestyle change after holiday binging and even online professional services by the Job Huntress. Sweetie Confectionary’s display by Patria-Kaye Aarons, a well-known CVM television personality, was popular for its affordable price and pleasing fruit flavours of June plum (golden apple), guava and jackfruit.

The catalogue was favourably received and resonated among shoppers many of whom prefer to shop online. The private showing had Wi-Fi connectivity with a mix of complimentary Red Stripe Sorrel Beer, which was a ‘hit’ among adult shoppers. Music by Something Special, Harold Davis’s newest CD, contributed to an enjoyable soiree for patrons.
Next: Spring Collection – Jamaica. Grenada or Trinidad & Tobago is being considered as the next Caribbean country for which sparkling artisans and authors are to be featured. Readers are invited to make the decision on Caribbean Fortress’s Facebook page.
Among guests were Professor Errol Morrison and Dr. Fay Whitbourne Morrison; the island’s former Contractor General Greg Christie and wife Janice; construction engineer Donald Nembhard, journalist R. Christene King, media consultant Elaine Wint, attorney-at-law Natasha Thompson-Benjamin and Vauxhall Primary’s beauty princesses, who were excited about their Sunday outing and Kremi ice-cream treat.

Caribbean Fortress Ltd. (CFL) is a full service agency for business events (fundraisers, conferences and incentive travel events, etc.) that was formed by a brother-sister duo, Gale and Kevin Peart. In April 2014 CFL was selected for the Women Innovative Network Community (WINC)’s Grow your Business (GyB) project in Antigua & Barbuda, a World Bank initiative.
Earlier this year the company helped to raise J$1.1million for The Queen’s School’s 60th Anniversary Gala Dinner, a fundraiser for a school auditorium. Other past events include hosting Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN)’s Paul C. Brunson, a relationship coach, in New Kingston, Jamaica and Mike Michalowicz, a Wall Street columnist and author of business books. Philanthropy is a cornerstone of CFL and they take special pride in volunteer work done for the Emrie James Museum at St. Andrew High School’s digital marketing activities, which led to an award winning YouTube channel.

Contact: Gale Peart: 564-8041 | caribbeanfortress@gmail.com

Caribbean Export Awards $1 million USD to Firms in Jamaica

The Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export) has announced the awarding of over $1million USD to firms and Business Support Organisations (BSOs) in Jamaica via their flagship programme the Direct Assistance Grant Scheme (DAGS) as part of the Regional Private Sector Development Programme (RPSDP) funded by the European Union under the 10th European Development Fund (EDF) on August 8, 2014.

The announcement was made at a press conference hosted by the Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO) who’s Vice President of Export and Market Development emphatically chimed that “an announcement such as this cannot go unnoticed, as it represents a most powerful opportunity for Jamaican exporters to equip and tool themselves to propel themselves into their selected export markets.”

Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, The Hon. Anthony Hylton, expressed his appreciation on behalf of the Government of Jamaica for the partnership and support that the European Union and Caribbean Export has extended to Jamaican businesses to become more competitive through the scheme.  He noted that “access to finance remains a major challenge for the MSME sector despite the reform efforts that have been carried out.  MSMEs, especially creative industries, remain unable to access funding from the financial sector, which often proves a major barrier to their development.  It remains the case that it is much easier to obtain a loan for consumptive items than for productive activity.”

The firms in Jamaica that have been awarded grants during this call for proposals largely represent the manufacturing and agro-processing sectors accounting for 40% and 36% respectively. “The distributions of funds to these key sectors is a clear indication that the Jamaican manufacturing and agro-processing sectors remain buoyant with a multitude of products on high demand from the international market.  It is imperative however, that all sectors continue to take advantage of funding facilities that are made available whether from us or other organisations,” commented Pamela Coke-Hamilton, Executive Director of the Caribbean Export Development Agency.

Out of 136 firms and BSOs that have been awarded grants on this occasion impressively thirty-three of them have been awarded to firms in Jamaica.  This has brought the total number of firms in Jamaica supported through the scheme since 2011 to date up to 278 and has a total value of some €5.7 million or $7.6 million USD.    The full list of grant awardees can be found on the Agency’s website.

The objective of the Scheme is to provide financial support to firms looking to increase their export capacity, either to new or existing markets. In particular, to capitalise on the opportunities presented by the CARIFORUM-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) and the CARICOM Single Market Economy (CSME).

Whilst from time to time firms argue that they have been unable to utilise the EPA, Mr Orùs-Bàguena, Chargé d’Affaires, Delegation of the European Union to Jamaica stressed that, “It is for you to find ways to make the EPA beneficial. The mere fact that Caribbean companies can benefit from this Direct Assistance Grant Scheme is proof that funding is available for entities that need assistance in various aspects of trade transition.”

In addition, “the EU remains committed to continue supporting the Private Sector through the CARIFORUM Secretariat, Caribbean Export and other regional agencies. I would like to acknowledge the increase of the current level of resources for the Caribbean, totalling €350 million for the Regional Programme for the next programming period under the 11th EDF (as compared to 165 million euro under 10th EDF).”

The funding provided to beneficiaries is often utilised to modernize equipment, upgrade facilities to meet international food and quality standards, enhance products and packaging, implement alternative energy systems, market and promote products and services, train staff, and develop collateral materials.

To date, Caribbean Export has awarded 475 SMEs and BSOs across the region via direct assistance grants totalling €8,372,277.82. These figures represent the Call for Proposals (CFPs) during the 9th European Development Fund (EDF) Caribbean Trade and Private Sector Development Programme (CTPSDP: 2008-2010), and the 10th EDF Regional Private Sector Development Programme (RPSDP: 2011-2014).

The Agency has awarded a total of €2,992,287 or $4.02 million USD to firms and Business Support Organisations (BSOs) across the region during this Call for Proposals for both the Accelerated and Regular Procedures grant facilities which was published on January 17, 2014 with a deadline for submission of application on March 7, 2014.  For the regular procedures, the maximum funding available for a project is €30,000, while the accelerated procedures limit is €5,000.

The DAGS is a reimbursement grant funding facility specifically designed to provide financial assistance to legally registered small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), individuals, and business support organisations (BSOs) with the potential to export their products and services.

New Book: Chee Chee has a Pirate Adventure

CAScover2BASSETERRE, ST.KITTS – Chee Chee, the pet Vervet monkey who stole our hearts in Adventure at Brimstone Hill is back and this time he is taking Mark and Kyle on an adventure to Jamaica in Carol Mitchell’s latest book, Pirates at Port Royal.

Pirates at Port Royal is the second installment in the Caribbean Adventure Series created by Mitchell, who hails from St. Kitts & Nevis. It is based at Port Royal in Jamaica and features the infamous pirate, Henry Morgan.

The book includes the characters that we got to know in the first book in the series, Adventure at Brimstone Hill. Mark, Kyle and Ingrid are modern day West Indian children, who, guided by their pet monkey Chee Chee, are transported magically to adventures in the past. In Pirates at Port Royal, the children become a part of a true and spectacular adventure with Henry Morgan. The children once again have to use their wits to save their lives.

“It is surreal now having two published books,” says Mitchell. “I knew I wanted to write a series but it was still a bit of a risk calling it a series when I did the first book. Now that the second book is actually out there, the series is real and I feel inspired to keep it going.”

The author said it wasn’t difficult to choose where the second book would be based as she knew she wanted to do a story about Kyle’s love for pirates. “The location actually chose me,” Mitchell explained. “I struggled a bit with this. Since I am based in St. Kitts, from a marketing standpoint, it is easier to do the books based here or in Nevis. However, Kyle had to fulfill his pirate fantasy and all of my research pointed to Port Royal.”

Carol-Mitchell-Author“My visit to Port Royal was great. It really helped to cement things in my mind, the excitement the boys would have felt going there,” Mitchell said. “When I write, I am describing pictures that I see in my head, so I was then really able to visualize where they would have gone and so on.”

Easily the most memorable character in each of Mitchell’s books is Mark’s pet monkey Chee Chee. Just as in the first book, Chee Chee shows up unexpectedly and his appearance begins the start of an adventure. “Vervet monkeys are plentiful in St. Kitts, so the inspiration was certainly right in my face. They are also so intelligent and full of mischief, they really lend themselves to this sort of story.”

Pirates of Port Royal is now available on amazon.com. You can learn more about Mark and Kyle’s adventure in Jamaica and Vervet monkeys like Chee Chee by visiting www.caribbeanadventureseries.com.

About Carol Mitchell

Carol is an Information Technology professional, who lives and works in St. Kitts-Nevis. She began her writing career in high school when she wrote public service pieces and participated in several debating competitions. After leaving high school to pursue further studies, Carol focused her efforts on developing her information technology and business management skills, while making every effort possible to write and participate in public speaking.

Her passion and love of reading, children and her Caribbean home led to the creation of the Caribbean Adventure Series. Adventure at Brimstone Hill and Port Royal are now available around the Caribbean and on amazon.com.

About goldenmedia Montserrat

goldenmedia Montserrat specializes in public and media relations, design, digital media and social media. We also develop strategic alliances for the Caribbean film and music industry, and assist in promoting the careers of outstanding authors and speakers.

goldenmedia Montserrat creates events that empower and promote a Truly Caribbean experience.