by Marlon Madden
The new head of the island’s export promotion agency is promising to ramp up efforts to get more small businesses focusing on reaching a global market with locally made products.
Recently appointed Chief Executive Officer of Export Barbados BIDC Mark Hill said it was time more emphasis was placed on the export of Barbadian products and services just as much as it was being given to the tourism sector.
In fact, pointing out that the export of Barbadian goods and services continued over the past year despite the shutdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Hill said this was one area that authorities should seek to expand in order to experience more sustainable economic activities.
“A lot of persons may not know but during COVID our exporters were still the ones earning foreign exchange through the process while tourism was in decline. Our exporters improve their performance during the COVID,” said Hill.
“So in a nutshell, the exporters are the rock stars and we tend to put a lot of emphasis on tourists . . . because Barbados needs to earn foreign exchange in order to pay its bills, but export is also a very viable and sustainable way of paying our bills,” he insisted.
Against this background, Hill said Export Barbados will be boosting export knowledge among small business operators in an effort to get more of them selling their products overseas.
He said it was critical for them to learn about the various trade and logistic issues and processes before embarking on the journey.
“The reality is that Barbados is 300,000 persons. It really is not a market per se. It is a small space and for Barbadians to begin to grow and experience the types of enterprises that we want to experience we need to launch out into the deep so to speak, and get into the globe and begin to participate into that global economy in a bigger and stronger way,” said Hill.
“It is not that we are throwing away small businesses. We are still carrying businesses with us, but what we are saying to those small businesses is that rather than you having a local mindset, we are asking you to have a global mindset. That is the real vision behind Export Barbados,” he added.
Hill said this renewed focus on export was especially critical given the less than favourable economic situation created by the COVID-19 pandemic in the small business sector.
He was addressing the recent Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) Green Committee webinar, held under the theme Turning Adversity into Sustainable Economic Opportunity.