SBA Encourages Small Business Owners to Become Export-Ready

The Small Business Association of Barbados recently hosted a Market Intelligence Training webinar, facilitated by the Caribbean Export Development Agency (CEDA), which aimed to encourage small business owners to consider export strategies for the future.

CEO of the SBA, Sen. Dr. Lynette Holder emphasised why such a focus was necessary at this time, stating that the small business sector could not survive by maintaining a singular focus on the domestic market. Instead, business owners were encouraged to begin earnestly to propel themselves towards internationalisation, maximising first on the space and opportunities available within the Caribbean Single Market and Economy and then looking beyond it.

CEDA Market Intelligence Consultant and presenter, Ms. Alana Reilly introduced attendees to the concept of using market intelligence tools to make business and export decisions and showcased various market and trade intelligence tools and sources of information.

Market Intelligence was defined as various types of information which could be collected and analysed to assist companies in identifying the most appropriate target markets for their products or services and which could be used to:

  1. Determine high potential markets for export and
  2. Inform market entry strategies.

Ms. Reilly stated that conducting such research was of paramount importance when looking to export as it helped to:

- Minimise the risks associated with penetrating new markets of interest

- Reduce any additional and unforeseen costs

- Provide the opportunity to analyse and compare several prospective markets to ensure that the best decision is made.

She also highlighted the main areas which businesses would need to consider when using market intelligence tools to make export decisions and determine target markets. These factors included:

Where is the demand? – Who are the main importers of your product in the world market?

Where is the competition? – Who are the main exporters of your product in the world market?

What is the potential? – What is the expected growth in value for your product over the last five years? What are the fastest growing markets in the world?

Other factors outlined for determining markets of interest included geographical proximity, cost of air, land and sea freight, market trends, trade agreements, membership in customs unions and demographic information such as population size and exchange rates.

Participants were also informed that they would need to identify their products’ harmonised system codes which are used as an international standard for importers and exporters to declare their products at customs.

Some of the online resources provided for more indepth research include:

  1. The International Trade Centre’s suite of tools: the trade map, market access map and export potential map which can be found at www.intracen.org/marketanalysis
  2. CEDA’s CE Intelligence Portal at www.ceintelligence.com and
  3. The Centre for the Promotion of Imports from Developing Countries’ Resources found at www.cbi.eu