PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad — A new online tool developed by the Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export) with funding from the European Union has been launched. The SME Diagnostic Tool was developed to assist CARIFORUM SMEs increase their export competitiveness. exporTT has adopted the tool, which will be utilised as a central aspect of its export competitiveness project.
“I am delighted that exporTT is the first business support organisation (BSO) in the Caribbean to adopt the SMEs Diagnostic Tool Assessment project as the foundation for building export competitiveness. The SMEs Diagnostic Tool Assessment is in essence a response to the global economy that demands that successful industries are comprised of competitive firms producing modern and innovative products and services,” commented Norris Herbert, Trinidad and Tobago’s permanent secretary at the ministry of trade.
The SME Diagnostic tool provides a standardised, expert-based methodology for accurately assessing SMEs and identifies the areas where development is required in the areas of management, production, access to finance and marketing.
“As we live and work in an information age, how many BSOs and TPOs can scientifically speak about the needs of their members with the relevant data to back up and show where their deficiencies lie? This is why the SME diagnostic tool which will be pioneered with exporTT is so valuable and essential for TPOs and BSOs to incorporate into their operations,” shared Pamela Coke-Hamilton, executive director of Caribbean Export.
Caribbean Export worked closely with the European Union to develop the Regional Private Sector Development Programme and one of the key ways to support regional business to increase their exports is through the provision of trade and business intelligence.
“The EU is pleased to work with and support valued partners such as exporTT and the Caribbean Export Development Agency which focuses on private sector development,” said Aad Biesebroek, ambassador of the EU Delegation to Trinidad and Tobago. “While governments are essential for creating the conditions for businesses to prosper, we all agree that it is ultimately the private companies, the core of which are the SMEs that create jobs and growth.”
Caribbean Export collaborated with Trinidad and Tobago’s exporTT to incorporate the SME Diagnostic tool within their Export Competitiveness Project as it will become the first step in prescribing interventions to improve a firm’s export competitiveness.
As the SME Diagnostic tool is rolled out to BSOs across the region it is anticipated that more firms will become better equipped to utilise the opportunities under the EPA increasing exports and competing globally.