It is often said that in order to gain international success, one must first succeed locally. Depending on the industry, this adage rings true. In entrepreneurship, and manufacturing while it is certainly possible to instantly target and tap international markets, there is no denying that being able to succeed within your community provides an ideal opportunity to further develop and hone your product to be better positioned for worldwide success.
Through its Business to Business (B2B) model the Trade Export Promotion Agency (TEPA) aims to create lasting relationships between manufacturers and reputable retail outlets. The B2B model seeks to increase the number of St Lucia products available at retail stores. Further, considering that distribution to retail outlets means direct competition with international products, TEPA Marketing Officer, Portia Williams-Thompson says this initiative would spur further development of local suppliers.
In June, TEPA held a private B2B exhibition for Sea Island Cotton Shop with 5 local manufacturers. The result of which was monumental with all five exhibitors being selected by Sea Island Cotton Shop as product suppliers.
“Sea Island Cotton Shop holds a very high standard when it comes to their products, with quite a bit being imported. The fact then that five additional St Lucian products will now be sitting and sharing the same space with these international items speaks volumes about the quality of what is produced locally. This is something St Lucians should be proud of!” Portia offered.
Even more impressive, Portia noted that several of the exhibited products were selected for immediate sales at Sea Island Shops, indicating that a number of local products are already on par with international products.
The Sea Island B2B exhibition also proved educational for the exhibitors who received noteworthy insight, advice and tips from Sea Island’s Marketing and Purchasing Team in regards to manufacturing, labelling and marketing.