SMEs find success through JAMPRO’s Business Linkages Event

Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO) collaborated with Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment (MOTE) and the Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association (JMA) to facilitate meetings between suppliers and buyers at the Jamaica Product Exchange (JAPEX) from September 21-23, 2014 at the Montego Bay Convention Centre. The meetings focused on the product needs of hotels, spas, restaurants, gift shops and other businesses in the hospitality and tourism industries.

The event proved rewarding for both suppliers and buyers; thirty-eight (38) suppliers of goods and services met with fifty-one (51) buyers from the hospitality/tourism sector. More than 100 B2B meetings took place, giving suppliers opportunities to network, secure contracts and commitments, and increase their brand visibility. As a result of the meetings, over 92% of participants that responded to the Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association’s (JMA) review of the linkages event reported that they received strong business leads and some have already secured contracts and sales.

Claudette Lopez Lewis, a fashion designer, showcased her clothing line at the Business Linkages event. She praised the initiative by stating, “A lot of the things that are being sold in the resorts are imported. We want to produce it and sell our designs to these resorts. That’s why we are here. It’s been good for us. We’ve had great success and it has been more than we anticipated.”

Winston McEwan, an executive chef at Sunset Beach Resorts in Montego Bay, was particularly interested in using Jamaican sauces and fresh food produce. “What I saw was marvelous. I liked the packaging and variety of the sauces, especially Springvale and I am interested in purchasing their products”, commented McEwan.

Therapedic Caribbean’s Group Marketing Director, Aswad Morgan describes how business linkages events have boosted his company’s success. “From a supplier’s perspective, business linkages events give us a unique opportunity to see so many customers in one room. We also get to see what the competition is doing and reconnect with existing customers. Through our participation in the first business linkages event, we won the contract for RIU Tropical Bay Negril to supply mattresses for over 396 rooms. Today, we have been able to get several contracts through a combination of our own business initiatives and continuous participation in business linkages events. The experience has been invaluable.”

At the event, Minister of State in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Sharon Ffolkes-Abrahams spoke about the importance of JAMPRO’s partnership with the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment to increase the use of Jamaican products in the tourism sector. “It’s a win-win for both tourism and businesses. The money that comes into Jamaica should stay in Jamaica and what we want is to have authentic Jamaican products to market to our tourists and hotel industry. MSMEs can and must benefit from this flow of money into the country. To make sure this happens, what we need to do is develop linkages between businesses and the tourism industry; the Linkages Hub is doing that,” stated Minister Ffolkes.

JAMPRO’s Opportunities Jamaica linkages event and the Business Linkages programme at JAPEX demonstrates the agency’s long-term commitment to help local manufacturers expand beyond Jamaica and establish their international business networks. JAMPRO’s Jamaica Business Opportunity Service (JBOS; also supports these initiatives by providing an online business match-making service that identifies potential business opportunities for suppliers and buyers alike.

JAMPRO’s President, Diane Edwards, says that JAMPRO is determined to connect businesses through linkages programmes to encourage trade. Edwards continues “JAMPRO links SMEs to buyers to show them the variety of Jamaican products that are available and encourage local sourcing in the tourist industry. We’re really proud of what we have done with the Linkages Hub as it offers a great opportunity for collaboration and we know that a lot of businesses will benefit. We will continue to use our various linkages programmes as a method of generating business.”

JAMPRO’s Business Linkages programme was developed to enhance the competitiveness of Jamaican products for increased trade in the global marketplace. The success of the programme is dependent on the commitment of all partners and the match-making activities led by the agency. JAMPRO serves as the channel between suppliers and buyers to encourage sustainable trade relations and to forge new routes to international markets.

Published Date: 
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
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