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Caribbean Export launches Break Point

BEA DOTTIN, [email protected]

Caribbean Export launches Break Point

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The new Break Point reality television series, put on by the Caribbean Export Development Agency, could be the answer to the problems some business owners face in penetrating new international markets.
Break Point, a 12-part series, is an initiative under the 10th European Development Fund’s Regional Private Sector Development Programme, in partnership with the United Kingdom Department for International Development and the United Kingdom Trade and Investment.
It was officially launched last Tuesday at the Errol Barrow Centre For Creative Imagination.
Executive director of Caribbean Export, Pamela Coke Hamilton, said the initiative was designed to “change the way” the organization engaged the private sector.
Expressing concerns that despite the signing the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) in 2008, a number of firms were failing to “actively and permanently” penetrate the markets of the developed countries, especially Europe, Coke Hamilton said the series should help to correct that.
She attributed the low penetration of some markets through the EPA to poor understanding as well as a lack of capital.
“We signed the EPA in 2008 and five years later we can count the number of firms that have been able to really make headway and utilize this agreement in any significant manner. That is something we have to address, and this initiative is one of the attempts to address that,” she said.
“As we move forward with Break Point, we see it as a platform for developing new and innovative ideas where entrepreneurs can be provided with guidance and advice in developing the best business models for their respective products and services. It is a platform where they will be able to speak to investors and learn about the alternative sources of finances and what investors are looking for,” said Coke Hamilton.
From a list of about 60 applicants, 30 firms, from ten CARIFORUM countries, and representing a range of sectors and industries including agro-processing, fashion and light manufacturing made it to round two.
After regional pitches, ten firms made it to the final round and made their presentations in London to distributors, venture capitalists and angel investors for a chance to get other investment opportunities. The winner of the inaugural series will be revealed in the final show.
The series is scheduled to air in 21 territories in the region and more countries “in coming months”, according to Coke Hamilton.
The series premiered on CBC TV last Wednesday. (MM)