On Wednesday, May 30th, the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers’ Confederation (BCCEC) will host its very first Trade Seminar and Expo at the Melia Nassau Beach Resort in conjunction with the Ministry of Financial Services. The event seeks to educate Bahamian producers about the export process, particularly through the use of the Bahamas Trade Portal, an online website which is the result of a joint effort between the Ministry of Financial Services, Trade & Industry and Immigration (MoFS) and the BCCEC.
The Trade Portal options for the exporter includes useful aids like the exporter’s tool kit (a comprehensive resource that assists exporters and potential exporters in the export process); a listing of upcoming trade/ export events including workshops and trade shows happening locally, regionally, or internationally; and concrete opportunities for the Bahamian exporter to grow her/ his business through grant funding opportunities.
Having started with 200 users per month a year ago, the Portal now boasts over 1,500 plus monthly users. The BCCEC expects that number to increase after the Trade Seminar and Expo takes place.
Trade Portal Manager, Charo R. Walker-Morley says “users value the ease of use of platform and the many features that assist exporters. Users are also drawn to the up-to-date trade news the Portal provides and look forward to our monthly newsletters.” She hopes that greater promotion of the Portal, particularly at the Trade Expo, will encourage more Bahamian businesses to take advantage of the vital trade resource.
Exporters of goods as well as services are listed on the Portal’s ‘Supplier Directory’ where potential purchasers of Bahamian products can get a snapshot of companies and/ or their offerings.
The Trade Expo segment of the event will allow Bahamian exporters of goods and services an opportunity to network with interested clients and obtain contact details, to offer demonstrations/ sampling, to initiate sales orders, and to carry out sales. The Trade Seminar component of the event will offer attendees solutions to logistical challenges and insights into accessing international markets, for instance, while also giving a better understanding of important concepts such as copyright and intellectual property, and existing and pending trade agreements like the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) and those of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
The BCCEC envisages that each exhibitor could walk away from the event with at least 200 potential customers. The added benefit of a strengthened relationship between the public and private sectors, is something the BCCEC also hopes to realize.
The Seminar will include scheduled workshops and presentations, while the Expo will consist of open booths for display of goods and services from a variety of industries. The cost of the Seminar also covers admission to the Expo, which will be open from 9am to 5pm. The Expo is also open to the general public, for a nominal fee, for those persons wishing to attend the Expo only.