The St. Lucia Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture on Thursday June 25th, launched an EU funded Project titled Competitiveness Through Linkages, under the SFA 2006 Banana Support Programme, Economic Diversification component. The EUR 1.3 million / EC$ 4.6 million Project will be implemented by the Chamber’s Business Development Unit (BDU), over a period of 33 months. The launch was held at the Auberge Seraphine Hotel, Vigie Cove.
Under the Project, the BDU will support the growth of local businesses, by providing assistance to enable them to increase their sales. A special component will focus assistance on businesses in 2 targeted rural communities. Using a buyer-led and demand-driven approach, the BDU will assist businesses to identify and remove constraints inhibiting sales growth through focused and cost-effective support. The BDU will let demand drive what it does, by supporting only those business opportunities for which there is a market demand – and therefore abides by the maxim, “produce what you can sell, not sell what you produce.”
The assistance to each business will be specific and tailored-made and seek to cause an increase in sales of at least $5 for every $1 invested. This return will be used to measure the success of the intervention for each business. The Project is not sector specific and is open to all businesses in St. Lucia. Businesses interested in participating can contact the Chamber for more information especially as the assistance to be offered by the BDU is not limited to Chamber members.
Drawing on the success of the USAID funded Caribbean Open Trade Support (COTS) Programme, the Chamber is confident that the knowledge gained there will benefit the implementation of this Project. In one year, a total of 104 businesses were diagnosed, with 26 successful interventions and incremental sales surpassing EC$1.0 million.
The Chamber’s Executive Director, Mr. Brian Louisy, will serve as Project Director, while Mr. Allan Perry Thomas is the Project Manager, Ms. Karen Fowell, Business Advisor, and Ms. Anthia St. Aimee, Administrative and Monitoring & Evaluation Officer.
Chamber President Mr. Christian Husbands, in his address, encouraged the business community to take full advantage of this opportunity, as the Chamber continues to work towards building the economy through stronger inter-sectoral linkages.
- END -