TEPA Scouting Project Producing Results.
ONGOING efforts to identify new markets for Saint Lucian producers and service providers by the Trade Export Promotion Agency (TEPA) this week resulted in the signing on of five manufacturers of aromatherapy products and specialty chocolates by Sea Island Cotton Shop.
On Tuesday, Sea Island Cotton Shop’s Buying Manager Karen Sylvester handed their first purchase orders to Keran Rosemond of Ali Rose Virgin Coconut Oil, Jason Marcellin of Cocoa Carib, Maria Jackson of Cacoa Saint Lucie, Gregory Deterville of Canabelle, manufacturers of Belle Savon and Gina McGrath of Soufriere Soapworks, producers of Sailor Soaps.
With a combined focus on growing both export and domestic trade, TEPA’s product scouting remains ongoing so as to maintain an updated directory of producers with the potential to develop in quality and competitiveness.
Further, the ongoing merger process involving TEPA and Small Business Development Centre (SBDC) within the Ministry of Commerce is strategic to the aim of creating a seamless journey for Saint Lucian producers from entrepreneurship through to enterprise development, and ultimately, to export.
The discovery by TEPA of six eligible local brands in May 2016 led the agency to initiate a business to business engagement between the six manufacturers and Sea Island Cotton Shop. A brief period of consultation and technical advice from the company to the producers resulted in the signing on of five producers.
According to Sea Island Cotton Shop’s General Manager Sherma Flavius, the selected product lines add diversity to her company’s growing collection of authentic and innovative Saint Lucian treasures and its ongoing efforts in forging sustainable and mutually beneficial relationships with domestic producers. This, she said, is a hallmark of a company which will celebrate 40 years in 2017.
“We continue to work very closely with quite a few of the small enterprises transforming their products into distinctive lines, and helping them to see their visions materialize. For us, it is both our responsibility as well as our privilege to support the growth of Cottage Industries and strengthen the supply value chain,” Ms. Flavius said
Referring to this milestone as a win-win for her agency’s clients and Sea Island Cotton Shop, TEPA CEO Jacqueline Emmanuel-Flood cautioned that the agency can only deliver when it is able to work together with established business partners, the first touch-points for the consumer market.
“We hope to continue to strengthen this relationship as we watch our products grow, our domestic market grow, our export markets grow and certainly the economy of Saint Lucia grow, but to do so requires that what we produce meet consumer requirements and are positioned to edge-out the most aggressive competitors,” She told the gathering.
Also attending the short product unveiling ceremony was Director General of the Organisation of East Caribbean States Dr. Didacus Jules, corporate partners of Sea Island Cotton Shop, shoppers and officers of TraDE Saint Lucia.