Earlier in June, Designs By Nadia was honoured to be invited to exhibit at the BMEX trade show in Barbados, which also marked the culmination of the WE-Xport programme, launched by the Caribbean Export Development Agency (CEDA) to support Caribbean women in business to start exporting or increase the exports of their products and services.
The programme was originally launched back in March 7th, 2018, and received significant interest from the get go, with 186 women-owned businesses across the region applying to take part. Of these firms, just twenty were selected to participate, including Designs By Nadia!
The key benefits of participation in the programme fall under four categories: access to finance; capacity building; access to markets and advocacy.
As it relates to the first element, CEDA partnered with the Caribbean Development Bank to host an Access to Finance workshop, and supported capacity building through the engagement of a financial consultant. Participants also took part in angel investing webinars to help refine their pitching skills.
For the capacity-building component, CEDA developed and executed a business coaching programme, pairing each firm with a coach for a period of three months, and assigned technical experts to assist with sales and marketing, branding and packaging, and certification.
Access to markets was secured through attendance of several trade shows, exhibitions and fashion festivals across the world, culminating in the BMEX show in Barbados.
Finally, in terms of advocacy, CEDA partnered with UN-Women to develop the WE-SPEAK Caribbean podcast, which addresses the challenges that Caribbean women in business face on a regular basis, and provides a forum through which women entrepreneurs are able to discuss priority issues.
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.
The entire programme was of incredible value, not only to Designs By Nadia, but to all of the participants, who formed a bond that will last long after the programme has come to an end. As CEDA itself reported:
?These business women have formed a strong community, where they have learned from each other, gained insight, shared business ideas, and even traded with each other. This shows that women with a vision, not only for their businesses, but for their communities, countries and the region as a whole, can come together and make a difference.?
For more information on the WE-Xport programme please click here.
All images are copyright Caribbean Export.