Republic Financial Holdings partners with the Caribbean Export Development Agency to help SMEs


Nigel Baptist –

HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of Republic Financial Holdings Ltd clients who operate businesses in the SME sector stand to benefit from a partnership between RFHL and the Caribbean Export Development Agency (CEDA) with the aim of increasing the potential and export capacity.

RFHL President and CEO Nigel Baptiste announced the partnership with CEDA on Monday during a press conference held at Republic House in Port of Spain.

“Developing export markets has always been an important aspect of this region’s growth. But it has become even more important over the past two years as we have all experienced covid19 and its fallout. Because of this, we have recognized the high risks posed by our dependence on one product or sector.

“This morning is a special occasion as it marks the start of what we believe will be a very important partnership, not only for the group but for all of our customers.”

“A partnership like this is needed more than ever as our inherently vulnerable Caribbean economies remain on the path to recovery,” he said.

Through CEDA, companies and trade clients will gain knowledge and exposure through virtual and in-person training, mentoring and specialized workshops focused on topics such as cost and financial management, export marketing and facilitation of trade in services.

CEDA’s Director for Competitiveness and Export Promotion, Dr. Ramie Sinanan, said the programs would give SMEs in RFHL the tools to manage and grow a business after the pandemic.

“We will be working closely with Karen and her team to develop a referral service so clients can go through their account managers and actually have access to Caribbean export services via a website.”

“We also realize that customers need know-how to get out and export their products and services.”

“The pandemic has taught us that companies need to look at how they manage their finances better and we see this as an important training program.”

CEDA is also organizing a Caribbean investment forum in Dubai where Caribbean SMEs could showcase products and services for export to new markets.

“The event aims to attract investment to the Caribbean. We focus on a few main sectors – agricultural technology, renewable and green energy, and hotel and resort development. We will have a number of projects that will be presented during the forum. Our local Caribbean Business Association will promote a project focused on attracting investment in agri-tech to TT. »

Baptiste said exporters, while facing the same challenges that importers have faced over the past two years, have also had to deal with the decimation of their export markets.

“Freight, as you know, exploded during the time of the pandemic, so that would be universal. But where it would have an additional and unique challenge would be what happened to its export markets. The same way the economy slowed in TT, it happened everywhere else. Thus, people who exported to a particular region would see a reduction in demand for their products.

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