A Chamber-backed trade mission to Barbados has been heralded as a resounding success by the partners and delegates.
The mission was organised by chamber member, Invest Barbados, in partnership with the British High Commission, the Renfrewshire Business Network (RBN) and the UK Department for Business and Trade (DBT). Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce supported the initiative as part of its Scottish Chambers International Trade Programme, organising and supporting awareness events, providing marketing support and promoting via the SCC Export Hub.
5 Dunbartonshire Chamber members were part of the twenty two business delegation to develop opportunities and links with the Caribbean island.
Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive, Damon Scott, said: “Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce was delighted to work in partnership with chamber members Invest Barbados and RBN to support this fantastic trade mission. International trade is an important growth opportunity for Scottish business and we are delighted to already have 5 members taking part in the programme. It is sometimes the smaller countries that provide a better fit and more opportunities for some of our smaller businesses and this is certainly proved to be the case with Barbados. A real advantage is the support the businesses receive at a very high level from a number of stakeholders and government including connections, incentives and expert advice.”
Now established an annual event, the Scottish Trade Mission to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean creates a platform for Scottish entities to strike deals and build relationships with the Caribbean Island.
Some highlights of this year’s mission were:
1. University of the West of Scotland (UWS) signed a memorandum of understanding with the University of West Indies. One of the Scottish university’s dementia experts, Dr Anna Jack-Waugh, also led two dementia seminars. UWS was also able to share its expertise in water scarcity, aquaculture, thin films/ultrasound, and dementia care.
2. Life coach and mentor, Cat Peterson, met with Tom Hinds of the Naniki resort, and the two have agreed to further discussions, aimed at bringing SPACE retreats for women-led businesses to Barbados. SPACE retreats offer women business leaders the space to connect, focus, and grow.
3. HowGroupUK opened up new ways of supporting Barbados and the Caribbean with its supply of renewable energy products. The group also agreed that Barbados would be the pilot for some new and upcoming innovations in green energy.
4. PRM Waste Systems signed an agreement with Barbados firm Shorelinez and Stuffers, which specialises in providing high-quality fresh and frozen seafood to restaurants throughout the Caribbean. Shorelinez and Stuffers will be the importer of PRM’s range of food waste processors in the area.
5. ID Cyber Solutions held very positive talks and has been asked to return soon to sign contracts. The cyber security firm is bringing the new IASME Cyber Baseline security certification for organisations outside the United Kingdom to the island. This certification scheme looks to ensure that organisations have critical cyber security protection measures in place. The experienced business has been working with the Barbados police and the Regional Security System, the military alliance responsible for the defence and security of the eastern Caribbean.
Now in its fourth year, the trade mission offers opportunities for networking and business development.
It also has a proven record of promoting economic ties between the two countries.
The Office of National Statistics recently found that trade between the UK and Barbados grew by 43 per cent for the four quarters to June 2023.
British exports to the island were also found to have increased by 83 per cent compared to the same period in 2022.
Barbadian Minister of State in Foreign Trade and Business Development, Sandra Husbands, spoke during the opening session of the trade mission held at the Town Hall at the Crane Resort, St Philip.
In her speech, the Minister emphasised the importance of transparency and substance in business.
She also highlighted Barbados’ competitive economy and business-friendly environment which has proved attractive to ambitious Scots firms throughout the trade mission.
Both the British and Barbados High Commissioners welcomed the Scots firms to the event, noting that being in Barbados gave firms an important opportunity to see the benefits of working internationally for themselves.
Kaye-Anne Greenidge, CEO of Invest Barbados said:
“Each year, delegates from the trade mission return to Scotland with great success stories to share and this year is no different.
“It is fantastic to see so many deals being struck, including in cybersecurity and lifestyle, proving that Barbados is an island of opportunity.
“It’s not just the climate and quality of life that makes Barbados attractive, there is also a welcoming investment climate and a stable socio-political backdrop.
“We hope that all delegates found the experience to be rewarding and positive and will consider joining us again in 2024.”
Shane Thomas, Development Manager, Invest Barbados commented on his membership of Dunbartonshire Chamber:
“This was a wonderful outcome for Invest Barbados, who see being a member of the Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce as the perfect opportunity to connect with other businesses both in Dunbartonshire and across Scotland.
Invest Barbados will continue to make full use of their Chamber membership which has been extremely beneficial and helpful for our trade missions. The networking events also allow me to
connect with likeminded individuals and to undertake valuable engagement on behalf of Invest Barbados.”
Chamber Member, Jo Smith, of the Renfrewshire Business Network added:
“Scotland boasts strong historic links with Barbados, and I am pleased to see these being strengthened between our two nations.
“This mission has allowed deals to be struck and agreements made to progress discussions further in a wide range of sectors.
“The support of Invest Barbados and the DBT has proven invaluable in progressing these relationships.
“Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce was an invaluable partner for our 4th trade mission. The Chamber was very supportive of the initiative as part of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce International Trade Programme, via marketing, referrals and hosting an awareness event. This resulted in members taking part in the mission and agreements reached to set up in Barbados.”
Chamber Member, Kenny McDonald, of Dram Mor added his thanks:
“A massive thanks to Jo Smith and Chamber of Commerce for the incredible amount of work involved in taking such a diverse group of businesses out to Barbados.
“I am happy to report that Dràm Mòr Group are now officially set up in Barbados and we look forward to starting to trade in 2024.”