Earlier in June, Tambran By Tamara participated in the annual BMEX trade show in Barbados, which happened to coincide with the closing ceremony of WE-Xport, a special initiative launched by the Caribbean Export Development Agency (CEDA) to support Caribbean women in business and strengthen their ability to start exporting, or increase the exports of their products and services, and that TBT was fortunate to have participated in.
The initiative first kicked off back in March, 2018, and received a phenomenal level of interest from the business community, with 186 women-owned firms across the region submitting applications to be involved. Of these firms, just twenty were selected to participate in the programme, with TBT as the sole representative for Grenada.
The programme provided a number of benefits, categorised under four main categories: access to finance; capacity building; access to markets and advocacy.
Financially speaking, CEDA partnered with the Caribbean Development Bank to host an Access to Finance workshop, and engaged an external consultant to assist with financial capacity building. Participants also attended angel investing webinars and worked on improving their pitching skills.
In terms of capacity-building, CEDA established a business coaching programme, assigning a coach to each firm for a period of three months. Tambran by Tamara was fortunate to be paired with Jason Grullon, a social entrepreneur from the Dominican Republic, and co-founder of the ethical fashion brand VIRTUROCKS and the ethical fashion platform DelCayo. Jason has experience working with GIZ, UNICEF and the UNDP, and the opportunity to work alongside him during the WE-Xport programme was inspiring and a tremendous opportunity. Additionally, under this pillar, participants were assigned technical experts to assist with sales and marketing, branding and packaging, and certification.
Attendance of a number of trade shows, exhibitions and fashion festivals across the world, ensured access to new markets, and culminated in the BMEX show in Barbados.
Finally, as it relates to advocacy, CEDA worked with UN-Women to develop a podcast entitled WE-SPEAK Caribbean, which addresses the obstacles that Caribbean women in business face, and provides an environment for discussion of priority issues, and mutual support.
The closing ceremony for the programme took place at the Hilton Barbados Resort, and featured presentations from a number of stakeholders, including representatives of the European Union, and the government of Barbados, as well as Success Stories from two hugely successful and inspirational entrepreneurs ? Keisha Smith-Jeremie of the Bahamas, and Christine Souffrant Ntim of Haiti, who shared the challenges that they faced launching their own businesses, and the lessons they learned along the way.
Participation in the WE-Xport programme was hugely beneficial to Tambran By Tamara, and an opportunity for which the team is exceptionally grateful as it sets its sights on markets outside of the region.
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For more information on the WE-Xport programme please click here.
All images copyright Caribbean Export.