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Editor, Features Franka Philip Special Publications Unit (SPU)

Group Multimedia Manager Roshan Persad (

EDITORIAL Co-ordinators Maria Padilla-Benjamin Natalie Paul-Harry

Sales Manager Sonja Romany (

Editing & Design Richard Yacoob

Account Executive Rajiv Ramkissoon (

Message from the Minister of Trade & Industry Senator The Honourable Paula Gopee-Scoon

It has indeed been a tremendous pleasure to have launched the Fit4Europe Project in January 2016 and to listen to the successes. exporTT Limited and its stakeholders must be commended on executing the activities of this project within such a short time frame.

This Project is directly in alignment with one of the main goals outlined in the Government’s Policy Framework 2015 which is to maximise benefits under the Economic Partnership Agreement with the European Union. Such initiatives will aid in promoting the Agreement and encouraging increased trade with the European Union as we seek to expand our non-energy exports. The CARIFORUM – European Union Economic Partnership Agreement has replaced the trade component of the Cotonou Agreement which previously covered non-reciprocal trade and cooperation

between the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries and the European Union. The EPA was signed by CARIFORUM and the EU on October 15, 2008 and has been provisionally applied by Trinidad and Tobago since December 29, 2008. Trinidad and Tobago cannot be dependent solely on the domestic or regional market for its survival. As such, the CARIFORUM-EU Economic Partnership Agreement was negotiated and provides market access in twenty-eight European Union countries for Trinidad and Tobago: a market consisting of approximately 450 million persons. In diversifying exports and building competitiveness, it is crucial for the private sector to discover new customers and constantly pursue new growth opportunities. The operationalizing of the Economic Partnership Agreement is anticipated to open tremendous opportunities for our private sector, not only in goods but also in services. It is one of the few agreements in which services provisions have been negotiated. The main objectives of the EPA are to support the conditions for increasing investment, private sector initiatives and enhancing supply capacity, competitiveness and economic growth in the CARIFORUM Region. For Trinidad and Tobago, the EPA is expected to contribute to the growth of exports of non-energy goods and services to the EU market. A key strategy utilized to achieve this objective is the building of capacity of businesses and the competitive advantage

of various products and services to exploit the EU market. Trinidad and Tobago’s national Export Promotion Agency – exporTT – has to date obtained some measure of success in the execution of projects geared toward building the private sector’s capacity to exploit the opportunities under the EPA Agreement. But it is not full success. It is in this context that the Fit4Europe Project was developed to provide technical assistance to both existing and emerging exporters of goods and services to prepare for penetration of targeted EU markets. It is recognized that businesses are at different stages of readiness for export. Accordingly, every effort is being made to address both the new and experienced exporter, in the expectation that the information provided would “spur on” the existing exporter to export more to Europe and would also encourage the non-exporter to see the potential and begin exporting to Europe. The significant need to diversify and expand exports and earn foreign exchange from the non- energy sector is becoming more and more evident and in this regard, diversification is no longer an option but an imperative. Transforming businesses to becoming globally competitive and developing market presence in the EU Markets can translate into earning rather than consuming foreign exchange. The injection of new resources into the economy will have a ripple effect contributing to a more stable economy and a higher standard of living

for all citizens. The Fit4Europe Project has provided an excellent foundation upon which the private sector participants can build to achieve market presence in the EU. The Government stands ready to work with our local exporters through exporTT Limited, to ensure that Trinidad and Tobago’s goods and services are available in every corner of the globe where there is a suitable market.

Trinidad and Tobago’s national Export Promotion Agency – exporTT – has to date obtained some measure of success in the execution of projects geared toward building the private sector’s capacity to exploit the opportunities under the EPA Agreement. But it is not full success. It is in this context that the Fit4Europe Project was developed to provide technical assistance to both existing and emerging exporters of goods and services to prepare for penetration of targeted EU markets.

Message from the Chairman, exporTT Ashmeer Mohamed

Companies, mainly from the food and beverage sector, have been exporting to the European Union for a number of years.

In Trinidad and Tobago, our non-energy exports to the EU consist of food and beverage products inclusive of cocoa and coffee; printing and packaging; construction; personal care and chemical products as well as musical instruments such as steel pans. Trinidad and Tobago’s exports to its major EU trading partner, the UK was US$4.3billion in 2016. This represents Goods exports only with

Food and Beverage as the primary sector. exporTT is intent on diversifying its export portfolio, in keeping with its new mandate to cover Services Exports. Consequently, the Fit4Europe project was conceptualized with the specific aim of assisting local companies in taking advantage of the benefits to be derived under the existing CARICOM-EPA-EU Trade Agreement. This project, was funded through the 10th European Development Fund, administered by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and executed by exporTT. It builds on previous work started in the region aimed at increasing the level of existing and new exports (goods and services) from Trinidad and Tobago to the European Union. Through a rigorous application process, participating firms were selected representative of a variety of sectors such as

food and beverages, personal care products, construction materials, fashion and digital production. The project introduced new modalities such as opportunities for our local producers in co-creation and repositioning in the global value chain, together with a focus on building strong international networks. We should also add that this is one of the few projects which featured a substantial number of participants from the services sector. We were able to experience the plethora of opportunities which exist for this sector internationally and will continue to work with our services exporters and organisations like TTCSI and CreativeTT to ensure that these opportunities are converted into business. Stakeholders in the export sector would agree that exporTT is a necessary catalyst which drives the export agenda. It does this through its direct activities such as

the Fit4Europe project as well as working closely with our partners in the Export Support Network and the Ministry of Trade and Industry. The task of diversifying the country’s exports is quite a massive one which will be executed by exporTT in tandem with other stakeholders. This publication covers an extensive range of topics including the project summary and methodology, market research findings from the EU, capacity building initiatives and business prospects presented by the companies that participated in the mission. It promises to be an insightful and informative read on doing business in the European Union complete with next steps on the Project. In moving forward, exporTT will continue to proactively embrace opportunities and experiences of engaging in these diverse markets.

Message from the European Union Delegation to Trinidad and Tobago Over several decades, the co-operation between the European Union and the Governments of CARIFORUM has centered on the shared objective of reducing poverty, achieving sustainable inclusive development, and gradually integrating the respective countries and territories into the world economy.

Inclusive and sustainable economic growth and development are critical for long term job and wealth creation and by extension poverty reduction. A favourable environment for doing business and the expansion of trade through deeper regional and global integration are important factors in attracting and retaining private domestic and foreign investments. These are factors which the CARIFORUM-EC Economic Partnership Agreement

has set itself as well to create. More than a traditional trade agreement covering trade in goods and regulating market access, the EPA is a single negotiated agreement that governs how the two regions will cooperate on a wide range of trade-related issues, including the market standards they are required to meet, trade in services, and related policy areas such as competition policy, procurement and intellectual property rights. Aware of the capacity constraints CARIFORUM Member States face to implement the EPA at both the national and regional levels, the European Union, through the 10th European Development Fund (EDF) Caribbean Regional Programme, has provided an amount of €74.5 million to assist, through various projects, national,

sub-regional and regional authorities, civil society and the regional private sector in meeting the commitments under the EPA and hence seizing the many opportunities it offers. One of these projects is the EPA Standby Facility. Managed by the Caribbean Development Bank and funded by the EU for an amount of €3.5 million, it particularly targets the capacity constraints met at the national levels to implement the EPA. “Fit4Europe” is one of the many initiatives which are being funded through the Standby Facility. The European Union is extremely pleased with the success of the “Fit4Europe” initiative. It represents an excellent illustration of how the European funds have successfully created the groundwork for the private sec-

tor of Trinidad and Tobago for new market access and business opportunities not only for goods but also services on the European Market. Congratulations exporTT Limited and let this experience be a source of inspiration for other CARIFORUM countries.

Message from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) — Administrator EPA Standby Facility We at the Caribbean Development Bank take this opportunity to extend congratulations to the exporTT management and team and the participants in this Fit4Europe Project, as this is the first project to be completed with funding from the CARIFORUM-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) Standby Facility.

As administrator of the EPA Standby Facility which has been made available from the development resources of the 10th European Development Fund, CDB is responsible for project appraisal; recommending projects for approval to the Steering Committee of the Facilities; preparing and concluding grant agreements between the Bank and recipients of resources of the facilities for projects approved by the Steering Committee; supervising the performance of projects funded by the resources of the facility to ensure compliance with the Terms and Conditions and achievement of planned results detailed in the Grant Agreements; and the monitoring and evaluation of the

performance of the Facility during the period of implementation. The Fit4Europe project is one of 15 projects being funded by the facility with a total budget of US$3.2million. The contribution agreement between the European Union and the Caribbean Development Bank terminates on March 16th 2017, by which time all projects are to be completed. It is no secret that being able to trade in a larger market greatly enhances opportunities to achieve global competitiveness. At the same time however, we know that notwithstanding the opportunities presented by the EPA, many of our small and even medium-sized firms face a number of challenges in accessing the EU markets, the consumers of which are not homogenous in terms of their needs or buying patterns. In designing this project, the CDB and the exporTT team were very conscious of the need to advance work already done in improving market access and of course ensuring that lessons learnt were brought to bear.

It is for this reason that there was a heavy emphasis on ensuring the right EU markets were chosen; that the market research conducted in the chosen countries was robust enough to inform decision-making in the participating firms; and most importantly that the firms received the necessary technical assistance to adequately prepare them for the market penetration. In this regard too, work done by Market Scoping International has been comprehensive and the team is to be commended for its efforts. The project and its outcomes are directly reflective of the Trinidad and Tobago’s aid for trade strategy and undoubtedly will inform the articulation of the National Export Strategy of which diversification is a major priority. We fully expect the soon to be developed national quality policy for Trinidad and Tobago (funded by the CSME Standby Facility of the 10th EDF) will advance reforms needed in the business environment to continue to improve competitiveness.

Trinidad and Tobago is one of the Bank’s largest shareholders with ownership totaling 19,342 shares or 17.91 per cent of total share capital and the Bank remains committed to supporting the development strategy of Trinidad and Tobago, based on our strategic objectives of supporting inclusive growth and sustainable development and promoting good governance. We look forward to a continued partnership with the Government of Trinidad and Tobago and once again congratulate the participants and exporTT on the successful implementation of this project.

We are exporTT — Creating a World of Opportunities As the National Export Facilitation Organization of Trinidad and Tobago, exporTT focuses on generating export growth and diversification in the goods and services sectors, catering to the needs of all Exporters.

This is accomplished through increasing the international competitiveness of exporters; developing new exporters across diverse sectors of interest and expanding to new markets, based on market research. At the core of our operations is creating an enabling environment for exports, build-

ing export capacity, harnessing the differentiating factors which set Trinidad and Tobago exporters apart in the global market place and providing market access opportunities. Our ultimate objective is to build and promote sustainable exports. Therefore, though export development is a critical part of our process, export promotion is viewed as the engine room of our operations, the vehicle through which Trinidad and Tobago can realize economic growth.

Through export promotion, exporTT creates opportunities for exporters to interact with markets first hand through the hosting of virtual, inward and/or outward missions. When twinned with participation in trade fairs and/or one on one B2B meetings these combine to form a powerful nexus which allows exporters’ access to numerous industry players in a concentrated environment. In positioning Exporters to grasp market opportunities, exporTT also works along-

side companies to provide Market Intelligence; builds their capacity through the provision of training programmes; certifies locally manufactured products for preferential access into countries with whom Trinidad and Tobago has trade agreements, facilitate International Standards Implementation and co-finances specific export-related activities.

Creating a new EU export model for Trinidad and Tobago — Project Consultant’s Perspective The Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the EU and CARICOM has promised more than it has delivered in increased exports to the EU from Trinidad and Tobago (T&T).

Project Consultant Clive Vokes, fourth from left back, in company with Dr. Ulirch Thiessen International Cooperation Programme Manager, Delegation of the EU, first right back, and exporTT’s Fit4Europe Project Team.

Developing the Export Readiness of Trinidad & Tobago’s Enterprises for the EU market exporTT Ltd was pleased to serve as Project Coordinator for this recently concluded project branded ‘Fit4Europe’.

This project was designed to offer participating companies capacity building, sensitization to market requirements and market penetration missions into selected EU territories. Through a rigorous application process, twenty-six (26) participants representing a mix of both large and small manufacturing and services enterprises were selected based on their level of export-readiness. Participating Firms were representative of a variety of sectors such as food and beverages, construction materials, personal care products, fashion and animation. In keeping with EU objectives, the Fit4Europe project was also gender responsive which saw a total of 62 per cent women-owned/led businesses and 37 per cent micro and rural-based firms being selected. After carefully selecting EU markets of the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and France and matching the level of export readiness of selected firms - Sixteen (16) Tier 1 firms were identified to participate in the market penetration mission and Ten (10) Tier 2 and 3 firms were identified as beneficiaries of capacity building programmes geared

towards enhancing the export capabilities of smaller firms. A Fit4Europe Steering Committee, comprising of the Ministry of Trade & Industry; Trinidad & Tobago Manufacturers’ Association (TTMA); Trinidad & Tobago Chamber of Industry & Commerce (TTCIC); Trinidad & Tobago Coalition of Services Industries (TTCSI) and exporTT, was created to oversee the selection of a Project Consultant. Clive Vokes of Market Scoping International was selected. Mr. Vokes is a highly experienced Consultant in the field of international business and economic development, having dedicated over 30 years to coaching countries and companies to compete in European markets and globally. As part of the gap analysis phase, Mr. Vokes assessed each firm and customised action plans were subsequently developed. Following, an intense capacity building programme was developed and rolled out by exporTT, covering a broad range of development goals consisting of: An overview of the EPA; Identifying and Assessing Export Markets; Advanced Communication for Marketing to the EU; Doing Business in the EU; Export Pricing; Formulating an Export Plan; Packaging and Labelling; among others.

A practicum at the end of the programmes ensured that the companies acquired the necessary skills to effectively engage the market. Prior to the market penetration mission, a market scoping mission was conducted by exporTT, the findings of which were presented to beneficiary companies and facilitated the restructuring of their development plans for the market. Two market penetration missions followed for the Tier 1 companies - one on goods and the other on services (where confirmed orders were secured in the animation, jewellery and food and beverage sectors) and the key learnings were transferred to the Tier 2 and 3 companies. A critical element of the project also included companies benefitting from a minimum of three (3) oneon-one interventions with the Project Consultant who provided sound advice and mentorship. Peer-topeer mentorship was also a key component, through company-to-company presentations; company site visits; and structured exchanges during the mission. The project concluded with a national/regional dissemination seminar however a post mentorship and sustainable development programme commenced in January 2017 and is expected to run for the year.

Nevertheless, with a population of over 500 million people in 28 Member States (27 members post Brexit!), the EU is one of the world’s largest and most diverse export markets. It therefore remains of great interest to existing and future T&T exporters, however it cannot be a question of ‘business as usual’ if T&T’s export potential in the EU is to translate into export performance. Exporters who wish to succeed in the EU have to adapt their products and services to the demands of EU markets. More importantly, there is a need to align mindsets to be able to participate in an EU business landscape characterized by new business models based on network thinking, clusters and co-creation. As part of the process, exporTT also had to redefine its role to become more of an export catalyst and ‘rainmaker’. This was the context and rationale for the Fit4Europe project.

level of experience and potential. Export missions were not built on beneficiaries’ attendance at trade shows or matchmaking events. The main focus centered on pre-mission engagements with potential EU partners followed up with on-site visits to partner companies’ premises during the mission. Every day of the mission was designed as a stretching, learning experience and concluded with a joint de-briefing in which mission companies shared their experiences and benefited from peer-to-peer support.

The Fit4Europe Methodology Fit4Europe was primarily a capacity building project to help exporters and exporTT build this new model. The Project was based on: (1) broadening and deepening T&T’s ‘talent pool’ of exporters, which at the moment is too narrow and too shallow to have a transformational impact on T&T’s further development as a major export economy, (2) making co-creation partnerships with the EU, the central pillar of Fit4Europe and (3) promoting the concept of ‘hunting in packs’ i.e. T&T companies combining their talents and resources to develop and implement EU opportunities together. The Project was inclusive and was guided by the principle of creating potential ‘ EU winners’ through providing continuous and customized coaching to exporters, consistent with their

The Fit4Europe Architecture The Project was based on a 3 Tier ‘pyramid” as shown below. Through Fit4Europe support, Tier 3 companies will migrate to Tier 2; Tier 2 will migrate to Tier 1; Tier 1 will grow their existing EU markets and expand in new markets. They will be the ‘pathfinders’ for others to follow with Tier 1 companies mentoring Tier 2 companies; Tier 2 companies mentoring Tier 3 companies and Tier 3 companies challenging all accepted wisdom! The Fit4Europe model was not rigid; it had to keep re-inventing itself at every stage of the process. If it stands still it will perish. In particular, YTEPP and other stakeholders have to keep ‘feeding’ the Fit4Europe pipeline with next-generation export talent. None of this will guarantee success, but it will increase the chances.

© Clive Vokes

Clive Vokes

Highlights of the Goods Trade Mission Mission Preparation In preparation for the mission, participants benefitted from the development of company profiles, customized mission programmes, uniquely designed capacity-building initiatives as well as a briefing session to notify of all logistics associated with the mission including travel, accommodation, financial management and mission marketing. Delegation on the Goods Trade Mission. The consultant, prepared an Several buyers were interestextensive list of potential part- Goods Mission ed in placing immediate orders Meetings were scheduled in ners for each goods exporter to evaluate as well as initiated con- the UK and the Netherlands with for selected goods, however the overwhelming tact with each partner to ascer- distributors, wholesalers, retailers given Trinidad and Tobago shop in Harlsden, London. response the exporter had to and included store checks. tain interest and availability to The mission kicked off with a carefully select the most appromeet. These were based on key con- briefing session facilitated by the priate distributor. To date, two tacts established during the mar- Project Consultant. Each day Exporters were able to secure ket research mission. Exporters thereafter commenced with a distributors in the market. Feedback from participating were then matched with inter- short planning discussion and ested companies in advance of ended with a detailed debriefing, companies included: “The best the mission – sending their com- exchange of views and experi- two back to back days of meetings I have ever had”; “None of pany profile, relevant company ences. Companies obtained positive these (deliverables) would be and product information and The markets of France, Nether- generations, the imminent sugar tax securing meeting times. feedback on T&T’s product offer- possible over the internet or lands and United Kingdom were and Brexit. This pre-mission engagement ing. Interest was generated in the through desk research’’ and “The selected based on a number of quanThere was great emphasis on the with buyers was unique to the concept of a ‘Trini-Pack’ of food knowledge gained is transformational to the industry.” titative and qualitative selection cri- ICT and Fashion sectors across the Fit4Europe Project. products. teria. three markets identified for the projGenerally, these countries possessed ect. macroeconomic and political stabiliIn France, the team was able to ty, a high demand for Trinidad and visit a number of competitive poles Tobago (T&T’s) top products and and incubators to learn how they services and a concentration of Carib- functioned and their successes to date. bean diaspora. General observations It was discovered that many of the across all the markets were: Firstly, companies in the incubators share incubators and clusters were not just characteristics and challenges faced part of the vocabulary but an import- by T&T companies which makes the ant part of the economy particularly possibility of co-creation greater. in France. Secondly, networks and In terms of ICT, meetings were held working through networks is funda- with Managers of incubators and netmental for business. Thirdly, most of works who develop projects and identhe persons encountered were friend- tify companies to work on them. Delegation on the Services Trade Mission. ly, serious about business and interMany of the ICT and animation ested in getting to the point to deter- projects undertaken were quite commine what can be done. This was plex and required a number of commost apparent in the Netherlands panies working on different aspects. The second of the two planned ships with their partners. Thus Key takeaways: where persons were very direct. This provides T&T’s firms with an Goods (comprised of mainly food opportunity to be considered for market penetration Missions, opportunities exist for small n There is no “right way” or “one size fits all approach” and beverage as well as some con- aspects of the project within their focused on Animation and Fash- firms in Trinidad and Tobago. ion Service Companies and tarAnother major opportunity, is to market entry. Modes struction items) and services (most- area of competence. include: partnering with local ly fashion and animation) were covIn the area of fashion, a few incu- geted UK, France and the Neth- partnering with clusters for designers, features in art galered in the research. bators were visited in France and the erlands. Below is a snapshot of training and knowledge sharing. leries, targeting museum In reviewing the markets for goods Netherlands to see how companies the market opportunities iden- Animation clusters, particularly those in France, are an entire stores and boutiques, showproducts, the UK appeared to be best moved from idea to commercialization tified during the Mission: support network - comprising casing at local markets, setwith the highest concentration of of their products. of accelerators, incubator schools ting-up or participating in Caribbean diaspora as well as large Many of the companies relied heav- Animation Outsourcing and capacity and animation studios. Pop-up Shops, partnering Caribbean distributors who reported ily on social media as a low cost These clusters are globally with fashion photographers increased sales. mechanism to get information out to building are two immediate and stylists as well as partNetherlands came after with a high their clients and potential clients for opportunities that exist within renowned and can therefore, nering with business consulSurinamese presence however France example some designers were found the UK and France. France and offer excellent partnership tants in the fashion industry. did not present as many opportunities to sell almost exclusively through Ins- the UK’s animation sectors are opportunities for the provision in some ways similar to Trinidad of capacity building programmes for our products. Caribbean products tagram. n Relationship building is key were often combined with African There is potential for our products and Tobago’s, i.e. largely com- to T&T’s service providers. - Our mission companies recgoods in the UK to produce an particularly in the area of accessories prising of small studios (5-10 ognized the only way to Afro-Caribbean category. This cate- which can be paired with fashion designs. employees) focused on servicing Fashion achieve long term success in While the standard distributor, gory creates exposure to the much Other opportunities exist in part- the advertising industry. The demand for high quality is the route pursued by many, Europe, is through cultivating larger African diaspora and brings nering with small designers to create and sustaining relationships products closer to the mainstream. lines which can be sold in the EU twinned with the highly collab- there are a number of opportuand being physically present Despite the opportunities for goods markets. The markets however, have orative nature of the industry nities that exist for the fashion in the market. there are challenges exporters can high standards for fashion and con- necessitates outsourcing through industry, particularly within the face, these include: greater enforce- sumers are concerned about ethical contract freelancing to execute UK. Strong institutional and government support make n Having the right network is ment of quality standards as Carib- and environmentally friendly produc- projects. It was observed that Europe- France, through the various powerful - The right contact bean products grow in popularity, tion. and connections can make all growing competition from other T&T’s designers will need to adapt an animation studios give far clusters and business support the difference in opening Caribbean countries such as Jamaica, their products and/or processes to more consideration to quality organizations, a great destinadoors and entering the replication of Caribbean products, meet these demands and ensure suc- than price, as well as building tion for companies looking to and maintaining close relation- establish their business. market. falling diaspora demand due to new cess in the market.

Market Findings & Opportunities

Highlights of Services Trade Mission

Featured Participants on the Fit4Europe Project Full Circle Animation

From the onset, Full Circle Animation saw tremendous value for the company being part of the programme, as an avenue to develop its export clientele in the EU region. Prior to this programme, Full Circle Animation had grown to be the leading animation production studio in the Caribbean. However, given the relatively small market size locally and regionally as well as limited broadcast and distribution channels available in the region, this makes it improbable for animation to be a viable business proposition in the long term if dependent solely on this market. For this reason, Full Circle saw the Fit4Europe programme not solely as an opportunity aligned with our longer term export plan and growth potential, but more importantly, as an integral element of our shorter term business strategy geared towards revenue sustainability and survival. Working sessions on business culture in that region as well as on the EPA hosted by exporTT, also added tremendous value in us understanding the EPA and its relevance to our line of business. These proved to be a catalyst toward initiating favourable business discussions with potential clients in the European Union (EU). After an almost year-long engagement in exporTT’s Fit4Europe programme, Full Circle Animation has increased its production capacity by almost 40 per cent in the last quarter of 2016 and by extension, the studio increased its export sales as a result of business opportunities from establishing relationships in the European market.

Red Fire Innovations Limited

Red Fire Innovations within the last two years managed minor penetration into parts of the Caribbean, U.S.A. and Denmark. Our selection as a participant on the FIT4Europe project, was perfect timing to continue the company’s international expansion trajectory. Through various capacity building seminars hosted by exporTT, Red Fire Innovations adopted new measures for entering the European market, updated its website to increase optimization and produced a digital catalogue to showcase its artisan jewellery. The tactile experience of talking with boutique owners and showing products during the trade mission was a tremendous experience. As at December 2016 two wholesale orders were fulfilled to a boutique and an online retailer in the U.K. Recognizing the need for an ethical line of artisan products which can be exported to the European Union, Red Fire Innovations created ROCHFORD ETHICAL DESIGN which is geared specially to the creation of ethical, sustainable, eco-friendly artisan products. A new Co-creation initiative, between Red Fire Innovations and Bene Caribe, aims to create products that will promote and support the zero waste policy by both companies. The first product is a bracelet utilizing off cuts from Bene Caribe batiks encased in recycled plastic water bottles to be marketed in Europe. It is my hope that exporTT and the Ministry of Trade and Industry will continue to provide other opportunities such as this geared towards the Creative Industries.

Bene Caribe

BENE CARIBE saw the Fit4Europe Project as an opportunity to gain technical assistance to improve the export readiness of our products and increase our capacity for export.

Senator, the Honourable Paula Gopee-Scoon, centre, in company with Project Consultant Clive Vokes, third front left, Andrea Power Coordinator Regional Cooperation and Integration, CDB, third front right, Fit4Europe Project Team and Beneficiary Companies at the Project Launch.

We benefited from quality training and opportunities identified during the market survey mission. These enabled us to hone our skills and prepared us specifically for the markets. During the trade mission, we attended various expos and participated in meetings with other leading Fashion institutions, influencers and potential boutiques to identify new partners. From this trip we gained significant insight on the importance of ethics and sustainability as factors that may affect market access for new fashion brands. We were also able to see and experience the style of the regions, to better understand how to adapt our product for the markets, and we gained potential partners and boutiques for sales. One of the key learnings from the mission experience was the importance of jumping on a plane and going in person to any market that a business is interested in exploring for export. The EU is a wide market that is open for business. The Fit4Europe project helped us to design a strategy for expanding our exports and we look forward to doing so in 2017. Bene Caribe is ever thankful for this opportunity.

Trinidad Chocolate Factory

Our participation in the Fit4Europe project was the pinnacle of the company’s interactions with exporTT over several years. This project caused us to fast forward our business thinking and actions. Exports were no longer something that could happen sometime in the future. Exports were now. We had mere months to be ready to present our products to interested buyers. We had to be clear as to; who was our market, what we had to offer, what was our unique selling proposition and what price and terms of trade we wanted. The project was transformative for us as we now had to consider how we would stand out on the international stage and how we could be competitive. We also had to fast forward our capacity to meet demand - scaling up required a huge jump in our scale of operations. Interestingly, it caused us to fully embrace co-creation and win-win relationships along our value chain, bringing suppliers and other local & regional producers into our plans and confidences paved the way for us to respond to our customers. Our visit to the UK market was a success. We were well

received. Buyers wanted to know about the persons and business behind the products. Authenticity, commitment to high quality standards, and ethical relationships along our supply chain were of great importance. We received specific feedback with respect to the presentation, formulation and size of our product offerings. We are responding to the feedback and continue to engage our contacts. We still have some way to travel on this road to exportled growth, but I feel as if we have made five years’ progress towards our long-term business goals in just nine months. God’s grace, we look forward to the future with confidence given our learning and experiences on the F4E Project.

National Canners Limited

As with any trade mission you must first start with a solid foundation of the expectations and goals the MISSION is designed to achieve. It was clear to me, from the on-set that the data and market research provided by the Project Consultant and exporTT were carefully constructed to reach the key market leaders within the EU. With this in mind, we were able to identify and target NEW potential distributors before departure on the mission. This proved to be invaluable as the flow of information was critical to ensure both parties achieved a positive rapport with each other, to advance the relationship building process prior to our arrival. Having a pre-set meeting with key decision makers and putting a face with the product was just another positive step forward in strengthening the business relationship. These discussions were insightful and educational; you could really dial in on market dynamics, key players within the market and the features and benefits of our product line. Each was open to expressing their own perspective on the category and segments, the economic environment and market potential. This open communication is directly related to the “Relationship Building” process because this kind of insight and knowledge would be hard to obtain in such a short period of time, if at all. I believe our participation in the TRADE MISSION in addition to the support provided by Clive Vokes and the exporTT Team Members will have a positive impact on the Matouk’s Brand becoming a category leader in Europe.

Special Mentions & Thanks To: • Senator, the Honourable Paula Gopee-Scoon Minister of Trade and Industry • Mr. Tedwin Herbert - Former Ag. High Commissioner of the Trinidad and Tobago High Commission, London • Dr. Ulrich Thiessen - International Cooperation Programme Manager, Delegation of the European Union to Trinidad and Tobago • Ms. Andrea Power - Coordinator, Regional Cooperation and Integration, Caribbean Development Bank • Mr. Clive Vokes - Project Consultant - Director, Market Scoping International • Fit4Europe Steering Committee • Fit4Europe Project Team • Board of Directors, Management and Staff exporTT Limited • Beneficiary Companies

Ag. CEO exporTT, Dwight Brown, left, shares a light moment with exporTT Chairman Ashmeer Mohamed, Project Consultant Clive Vokes, Ag. Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Trade and Industry Norris Herbert and Project Lead Natalie Paul-Harry.

Replicating the Model — Post Project Mentorship Session exporTT commenced its post-project activities in early January 2017, commencing with a mentorship session and a site visit to S.M. Jaleel & Company Limited. There, companies had an opportunity to tour the plant and hear first-hand S.M. Jaleel’s success story of pioneering a long list of international ‘firsts’ for innovations in product and packaging development in its market expansion into five continents. The objective of this session was twofold, to obtain insights from S.M. Jaleel’s experience and facilitate peer-to-peer mentorship amongst participants. Ensuring Sustainability Critical to exporTT, is ensuring the sustainable development of the firms in their continued market penetration efforts into the EU. Customized action plans will be devel-

oped to support each beneficiary for one year post project. Further, a Fit4Europe Project Video and Webpage will be created, to capture the successes and lessons learnt over the life of the project. This will be made available to all companies interested in entering the EU market.

e-Commerce Training Developing a successful e-commerce platform is a must have, particularly for Food & Beverage and Fashion companies desiring to trade with Europe. exporTT will host a one day training session for beneficiaries aimed at improving their export readiness. Specifically, the workshop will cover the fundamentals of e-commerce, evaluating a provider, the e-commerce ecosystem in T&T and the tools and processes to build a successful e-commerce business.

Transforming Potential to Performance Ensuring Trinidad and Tobago’s success in the EU requires exporters adapting their products and services to meet the demands of the markets. exporTT in its role as export catalyst will stimulate the broadening and deepening of T&T’s ‘talent pool ‘ of exporters, through the creation of new business models of network thinking, clusters, co-creation and ‘hunting in packs’ to ensure EU opportunities are secured. Continuous and customized coaching of exporters, consistent with their level of experience and potential is an imperative in this process and requires constant review of their development plans to increase chances of success. In tandem, exporTT will leverage its new network contacts in the EU to facilitate market access for a cadre of new exporters to penetrate Europe.

Fit4Europe Beneficiary Companies • Bene Caribe • Blossom Accessories Loft • Chief Brand Products Ltd. • Export Centres Company Limited (ECCL) • Flavour Me Rite Company Ltd. • Full Circle Animation Studio • Honamic Designs • Indigisounds • KC Confectionery Limited

• Koko Karibi Designs • Zaveza • Lab 206 Animation and Interactive Design Studio • Lisa See Tai • Millhouse Company Limited • National Canners Limited • National Flour Mills Limited • NV Marketing Ltd.

exporTT is also executing projects in a number of other extra-regional markets. Thus far, exporTT has participated in the Havana International Fair in Cuba as well as the Sixth Latin American and Caribbean Forum of Outsourcing and Offshoring hosted in Costa Rica.

Extra-regional export agenda

Planned projects for the rest of the fiscal 2017 include Market Survey Missions to Panama and Canada, an Inward Buyers Mission in collaboration with the TTMA for the upcoming Trade Investment Convention (TIC) in July 2017 and a Panama Trade Mission. These projects have been carefully selected to fit our strategic focus on extra region-

al markets. Leveraging current Free Trade Agreements to increase uptake in exports is part of this strategy with upcoming planned initiatives focusing on the DR, Canada and Costa Rican markets. Seminars will be executed on the heels of ongoing trade efforts in Venezuela, Europe and Cuba. Additionally, within the next four years and in tandem with Government’s agenda, exporTT intends to explore possibilities in Asian and African markets. In building exporter’s extra regional competitiveness, exporTT has initiated a

• Red Fire Innovations Limited • S.M. Jaleel & Company Limited • SewLisa • Shoe Lab • Smart Foods Caribbean Limited • The Herbarium Limited • Trinidad Aggregate Products Ltd. (TAP) • Trinidad Chocolate Factory Ltd. • YTEPP Limited

project aimed at assessing export readiness, discovering main challenges in exporting and developing an export support plan to close identified gaps. For Tobago, we are building a comprehensive database of existing and potential exporters as well as the services accessible by companies through funding programmes and/or multilateral interventions. Based on the findings, a plan in collaboration with the THA and other stakeholders will be developed to support companies in reaching foreign markets.

Foreign Facilitators • Kate McBain - Creative Industries Training Consultant & Cultural Strategist • Christos Hatjoullis - CEO Shroom Studios • Professor Andrew Ramroop OBE CEO, Maurice Sedwell Ltd • Florent Belleteste, CCI International Rhône-Alpes • Elisabetta Schena, Conseil Regional AuvergneRhône-Alpes • Vera Ovcharenko - Head of International Services Imaginove • Olivier Pageron - Business France • Aymeric De Mollerat - Director Business Development, Aderly - Invest in Lyon • Madelaine Kenihan - CCI International Rhône-Alpes • Louise Mullane - Enterprise Project Manager London College of Fashion

exporTT Offices Head Office & Trade Certification Unit: 151B Charlotte Street Port of Spain Tel: (868) 623-5507 Fax: (868) 625-8126 Email: Website: Point Lisas Office: Plipdeco Information Centre Atlantic Avenue Point Lisas Industrial Estate Point Lisas Tel: (868) 679-2492/4429 Fax: (868) 679-2493 Email: Website: Tobago Office: E-Teck Mall, Sangster´s Hill Scarborough Tobago Tel: (868) 639-4067/639-2549 Fax: (868) 639-4340 Email: Website: T&T Trade Facilitation Office República de Trinidad y Tobago Calle 3era. Entre 76 y 78 Edificio Beijing primer piso oficina 124 Centro de Negocios Miramar Cuba Tel: 537 204 4242 Fax: 537 204 4246 Websites: or

More Info For further info on Europe, please contact exporTT’s Senior Export Officer - Natalie Paul-Harry at 6235507 EXT. 364 or e-mail

Fit4Europe Magazine  
Fit4Europe Magazine  

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