Locals turned out in their numbers for the second day of the Barbados Manufacturers Exhibition which is being held at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.
The four-day exhibition which runs from May 18 to 21 promotes and markets locally made products and services to the Barbadian market, thus encouraging consumers to buy locally.
Exhibitors such as Melissia Batson has high hopes for the four-day exhibition.
The owner and creator of Jem’s Gourmet Chocolate revamped her business model after receiving suggestions from consumers at BMEX 2016.
Two years later she came back with her Infusion chocolate bars which is a 100 per cent Barbadian product, locally grown and locally made.
Batson, who received the Governor General’s Award at last year’s National Independence Festival for the Creative Arts for her delectable Infusion treats, was looking forward to getting feedback from patrons and familiarising them with her product.
“From them I hear what is working and what isn’t working . . . It is because of the Barbadian public I am into [chocolate] bars because we realised the truffles weren’t selling . . . but then they were like why don’t you do a bar because it is more value for your money,” she revealed.
Managing director of the Fresh Press, Ray Chee-A-Tow, is also a new exhibitor seeking to encourage locals to eat healthy and be healthy with his cold pressed juices.
Chee-A-Tow explained locals were increasingly concerned about the ingredients used in products so his company created an item that consists of only fresh fruit and vegetables with no sugar or preservatives.
Chee-A-Tow disclosed that the year-old business was still trying to find its footing in the local market as it was created during a time of increasing taxes and economic uncertainty.
“As a small business it has been extremely difficult because when we started it was prior to National Social Responsibility Levy and two per cen tax and as a small business after the stuff came in we could not just go back to the market and change our pricing but we have had to absorb everything so it has been a struggle,” he commented.
With the island on the eve of an election, Chee-A-Tow indicated that he hopes the elected government would create policies that make conducting business easier for small enterprises.
“Whoever is in power you want to make sure that they have an open policy to small business. While the current government has an open policy to small business the challenge is that there are too many obstacles, it takes too long, too much red tape …there is too much for small business to thrive and we want an encompassing environment that will help people to get into business without the hindrances,” he said.