Business Development Unit
What is the Competitiveness Through Linkages Project? Competitiveness Through Linkages is a project funded by the European Union under the Banana Support Programme SFA 2006 titled Economic Diversification. It is implemented by the St. Lucia Chamber of Commerce, Industry & Agriculture – Business Development Unit (BDU) and designed to enhance private sector growth by increasing company sales and enable businesses to compete more effectively in the global economy. Its objective is to increase sales, investment and employment of producer firms in St. Lucia.
What support does the BDU provide to firms? The BDU supports the growth of client firms by providing technical assistance to enable them to increase their sales. The BDU assists firms to identify and remove constraints inhibiting sales growth through focused and cost-effective support. Assistance from the Project is tailored to removing the constraint or “bottleneck” that inhibits a specific business transaction. The assistance provided is very specific to the firm and excludes research, market and feasibility studies and the provision of grants or other types of financing. The Project will however, work with client firms in identifying potential sources of finance.
How does the BDU deliver services? The BDU directly provides and manages its services through its staff and network of consultants, to deliver assistance to clients. Each client is assigned a business advisor - who works with the client - to eliminate constraints that inhibit sales. Although specialized consultants may be brought in, the business advisor serves as the key point of contact for the client firm, and monitors and manages any intervention with the firm. Confidential data shared between clients and the BDU is not shared with third parties. However, publicly available information and the general nature of the BDU’s interventions may be shared with other economic development partners.
What is the cost of services provided by the BDU? The BDU requires that firms receiving assistance to commit to the services to be provided to remove the identified constraint to sales growth. The BDU also requires that firms receiving assistance share information on sales, investment, employment, and production generated by the provided services.
When does the BDU deliver services? The BDU works with a client based on the potential level of increased sales that will reasonably result from the BDUs’ investment and client commitment to remove a constraint. After a constraint is identified for removal the business advisor calculates the amount of sales that would reasonably result from the removal of the constraint following Project support. Once the business advisor and the client agree upon an intervention and the commitment of each party to remove the identified constraint, the business advisor puts this into a memorandum of understanding for signature by both parties.
How does the BDU measure success? The BDU’s success is measured by the increase in sales, investment, production and employment that the Project activities generate.