Every time I attend a workshop, training, exhibition or ‘show’ where vendors and/or small business owners are most likely to congregate, I get all hyped with excitement. It’s like a child who just discovered the awesomeness of chip-chip and sugar cake made in mom’s kitchen. Mind you, unlike most Grenadian children, I never really liked those confectionaries growing up, but I saw how these sweets can interrupt a serious game of marble and ‘who for it’. For other children, these tasty treats were another source of income to help with lunch for the next day.
Entrepreneurship has long been a way of life for many in Grenada. From the men and women on the side of the road with colourfully packed provision stalls to those who go a bit further to use some of what we grow to produce properly packaged products. While all of this is well and good and shows that our people are creative and can find ways to support themselves, my only concern is the number of the same products being produced and competing for the same target group. For example, jams and jellies. There are several different small businesses producing jams and jellies and I am almost sure that there are more in the pipeline. Though it is good for consumers to have options, but instead of us all vying for the same spot in the same industry, why not start looking for ways we can sell our products and services outside of our island.
Last week, September 25th – 29th, I was invited to attend a training and workshop by Grenada Coalition Services Industries with the theme Services Go Global The Road Map for Exporting Services. The training was designed business owners who are looking to take the next step with their business and start offering their products and services on international markets.
The lecturer for the week was Kelli-Dawn Hamilton, certified Services Go Global trainer of Jamaica, who shared on the following topics:
Preparing your Business- to successfully analyze the external market and exporting opportunities.
Effective Market Research- aimed at helping to build market intelligence and to effectively identify and take advantage of local and regional market opportunities.
Efficient Marketing- designed to help increase your market share through the development of market strategies and entry methods.
Export Strategy- participants will be guided through the development of an export strategy that will facilitate the export of their services.
It was an intense week of training, but the participants came out each day, eager to learn and encourage each other by sharing their experiences. They all endured to the end and were able to complete their export plans which is a requirement to become certified export-ready businesses. With this certification, these entrepreneurs are now more visible to a wider audience and have the opportunity to connect with other businesses on international markets through the Coalition Services.
‘The Services Go Global’ training programme is designed to prepare businesses with the tools necessary to expand into overseas markets. The participants in the recently concluded training programme revealed a crop of Grenadian entrepreneurs who not only have the skill to grow their businesses, but who displayed a passion and drive that will form the foundation upon which their organisations will be built and a tenacity that will secure their place in the global business landscape. It was a pleasure working with the group and I have every confidence that they will excel as global entrepreneurs. – Kelli-Dawn Hamilton, Lecturer – Services Go Global
Kelli-Dawn often reminded the participants:
The one-week training was rewarding for the entrepreneurs, not only for the new networking opportunities, but because they now have a new perspective on areas like outsourcing, extensive research and selecting target markets. Their feedback spoke volumes.
It was truly a vivacious week – Kendell
I feel very fulfilled. It was a week well spent – Kelly
I appreciate and love the connections. My life has changed…paradigm shift. – Donally
Grenada is definitely in need of more opportunities like this. My only concern is that usually when opportunities like this come our way, we don’t maximize on it and we wait till they’re gone to try to make a move. There were only seven attendees at the training, but I’m hoping that more entrepreneurs will see the need to invest in workshops like this to learn, grow and network with other like-minded entrepreneurs.