Sat | Dec 16, 2017

Manchester SMEs prepare for international market

Published:Thursday | December 7, 2017 | 12:00 AMTamara Bailey
Owner and founder of Arnagonics, Arna Boothe, displays her products at the Manchester Agri Business and Expo Workshop held November 8, 2017, at the Golf View Hotel, Mandeville.
Henry’s plantain, banana, dasheen and breadfruit chips on show at the the Manchester Agri Business and Expo Workshop, held November 8, 2017, at the Golf View Hotel.
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MANDEVILLE, Manchester:

Over sixty small business owners were recently engaged by the Manchester Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with JAMPRO, at an Agri-Business Expo and Workshop, geared towards business development and accessing export markets.

President of the Manchester Chamber of Commerce, Garfield Green, told Rural Xpress that it is high time that more be done for rural business operators who offer products and services in the trending areas.

"We are pushing for more economic growth in the parish and the adjoining central parishes through trade and investments and the SMEs here," Green said. "We have built a relationship with the United Kingdom (UK) and they are ready to take our products into their market."

Green added that he is hoping to next stage an international expo that facilitates business from the UK, Canada and the United States, as well as further prepare local SMEs for the export market.

A few of the areas covered at the workshop include tax compliance, making connections work, as well as export and business advice.

Manager of National Commercial Bank, Mandeville, Stuart Barnes, in offering business advice, told the attendants to ensure that businesses are kept attractive, good relationships are maintained with suppliers, loans are paid on time to avoid interest and cheques that may be returned are not handed out.

Manager of Agri-Business at JAMPRO, Marlene Porter, said with millions in the UK market actively seeking Jamaican products, possibly as a result of the significant presence of members of the diaspora, business owners need to match the specifications of that market.

She added that statutory regulations in the market must be understood, an export marketing plan must be devised, packaging and labelling must match the area to which it will be sent, among other specifications.

Arna Boothe, owner and founder of the haircare line 'Arnagonics', said as a young entrepreneur the workshop proved informative and worthwhile.

"My brand caters to any hair type - whether it's colour treated, natural or relaxed. I have been in business for about two years now and this is my first official workshop," she disclosed. "The information is very good. I have learnt different approaches and I am actually excited about getting my business into the UK market because it has the potential to grow."

Angella Edwards of the skincare line 'Skin Essentials' caters to persons who have allergies, eczema and other skin conditions. She told Rural Xpress that she has tried the overseas markets before, but is poised for entry into the UK market.

"I have been exporting to a few friends overseas, but I want to do more of that; I want to get into the UK market and do more for the business," Edwards indicated.

The coordinators of the workshop are hoping that this will be an annual event that can draw more business persons and possible investors to our shores.