Earlier this month, Kimya Glasgow was honoured to be invited to exhibit at the BMEX trade show in Barbados, which coincided with the closing ceremony of the WE-Xport programme, a special initiative launched by the Caribbean Export Development Agency (CEDA) to strengthen the ability of Caribbean women in business to start exporting or increase the exports of their products and services.
The programme kicked off back in March, 2018, and received considerable interest from the business community, with 186 women-owned firms across the region vying to take part. Of these firms, just twenty were selected to participate in the programme, including Kimya Glasgow as the representative for St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
The programme provided a series of benefits that fell under four main categories: access to finance; capacity building; access to markets and advocacy.
From a financial perspective, CEDA partnered with the Caribbean Development Bank to host an Access to Finance workshop, and engaged a financial consultant to assist with capacity building. Firms also participated in angel investing webinars to help refine their pitching skills.
For the capacity-building component, CEDA created and launched a business coaching programme, matching each firm to a coach for a period of three months. Kimya Glasgow was thrilled to have been paired with Jason Grullon, because of the work that he has done with the ethical fashion brand VIRTUROCKS and the ethical fashion platform DelCayo. Jason has worked with GIZ, UNICEF and the UNDP, and his support during the coaching was truly invaluable. Additionally, under this pillar, participants were assigned technical experts to assist with sales and marketing, branding and packaging, and certification.
Attendance of several 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 was held 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.
Every aspect of the WE-Xport programme has strengthened the ability of Kimya Glasgow to fulfil its objective of expanding beyond the Caribbean, and the entire team looks to the future with excitement about the opportunities that exist.
For more information on the WE-Xport programme please click here.
All images are copyright Caribbean Export.