From left: Harvey Reid of Country House Products shows one of his cosmetic products to JAMPRO President Diane Edwards, State Minister in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce Sharon Ffolkes-Abrahams, and JAMPRO's Manager of Export Development Marlene Porter during Opportunities Jamaica 2013 at the Montego Bay Convention Centre on Monday, September 30, 2013.
KINGSTON, Jamaica -- Local suppliers in the micro, small and medium enterprise (MSME) sector significantly enhanced their growth prospects by engaging in targeted business matchmaking sessions with domestic and overseas buyers at Opportunities Jamaica 2013, which was staged by the Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO) at the Montego Bay Convention Centre from September 30 to October 1.
The two-day event saw over 50 suppliers of high quality Brand Jamaica products connecting with 100 local and regional buyers. Opportunities Jamaica is one of a number of initiatives undertaken JAMPRO to create and grow business linkages, and was executed in collaboration with the Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export).
According to Diane Edwards, JAMPRO’s president, the event provides a large-scale occasion for business matchmaking with suppliers and a range of local buyers in the tourism/hospitality sector, including purchasing managers, chefs, gift shop operators, institutional buyers as well as buyers in the retail and distribution sectors.
The event was officially opened by Sharon Ffolkes-Abrahams, State Minister in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, who emphasised the impact and reach of business linkages formed at such events.
“The impact of these business linkages is far reaching, as they are primarily focused on expanding the growth of MSMEs which will create and maintain jobs in the communities in which they operate,” she said.
Ffolkes-Abrahams elaborated that her ministry, which has portfolio responsibility for the MSME sector, is fully cognizant of the important role MSMEs play in economic development. She referenced the MSME and Entrepreneurship Policy, which was tabled in the House of Representatives in July of this year, as a significant step in establishing a framework for the growth and survival of the MSME sector.
“The catalytic potential of the sector in this regard has made it an area of high priority on the national agenda, with great attention being paid to the various ways in which the country can enhance the viability and competitiveness of the sector,” Ffolkes-Abrahams said.
JAMPRO’s Business Linkages Programme has produced successful results at the JAPEX trade show, in collaboration with the Jamaica Hotel & Tourist Association (JHTA) and the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB). In the last two years, the business linkage event has generated 41 contracts valued at over J$200 million.
Executive director of Caribbean Exports, Pamela Coke-Hamilton, expressed her confidence that this year’s event will build upon the successes of previous years.
“A programme such as Opportunities Jamaica that promotes business matchmaking is critical to securing market access and evidence has shown that this methodology is the single most effective mechanism for increasing exports and overall trade. As such this event represents an opportune arena for the private sector to explore new markets, showcase innovative new products and establish new platforms for engagements,” stated Coke-Hamilton
Opportunities Jamaica was staged under the theme ‘Establishing Partnerships for Success’.