There will be a Barbados Manufacturers’ Exhibition (BMEX) this year, but with some major changes.
This has been confirmed by Executive Director of the Barbados Manufacturers’ Association (BMA) Shardae Boyce, who told Barbados TODAY that plans for this year’s exhibition are well underway.
The BMA, organisers of the exhibition, revealed that BMEX 2021 will consist of physical and virtual components, which will allow the show to continue in the event of any COVID-19 or natural disaster occurrences.
“This approach is being supported in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, recent ashfall and a predicted higher than usual active hurricane season. This year’s theme Resilience & Growth via Adaptation highlights the manufacturing sector’s commitment to persevering during trying times and preparing for the future by embracing change,” said Boyce.
Among the changes, the annual festival will move to the Sir Garfield Sobers Sports Complex this year, as opposed to the usual Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.
In addition, the exhibition, which was traditionally hosted during Whitsuntide weekend, in the second quarter of each year, will now take place October 29 to 31, 2021, giving exhibitors and organizers more time to prepare for the event.
Giving the reason for the shift in location, Boyce noted that the Sir Garfield Sobers Sports Complex provides the opportunity for “a fresh look with a larger outdoor component”.
“Utilizing the available space will not only improve safety, but it works well with our expanded fashion show and entertainment which will now be featured in a more aggressive format. Each day of the exhibition will feature fashion and entertainment as we strive to encourage collaboration between manufacturing and other sectors,” she said.
The virtual component will complement the physical by leveraging popular online channels and technologies to improve on the BMEX experience, she pointed out.
Online visitors will be able to see virtual exhibits, view the fashion show and other entertainment and purchase products online via the BMA’s e-commerce marketplace.
The BMA noted that sponsors and exhibitors will benefit from the increased exposure and the extended presence online prior to and long after BMEX 2021 has concluded.
“Training sessions will be offered through various institutions prior to the exhibition to allow exhibitors to reposition themselves in light of the displacement COVID-19 has had on businesses,” added Boyce.
There was no BMEX last year. In June 2019, the showcase attracted some 108 exhibitors of the near 200 that had expressed an interest then, with a heavy focus on the service industries.
Minor changes had to be made at the Two Mile Hill, St Michael location at that time because of the presence of the Ross University School of Medicine in the building. (MM)