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Feb 16, 2018

Helping Businesses to Work Together

BELTRAIDE, in partnership with Compete Caribbean, held a “national cluster workshop” in Belize City today. The idea of clustering in business is to bring partners together within or even across industries to collaborate and build capacity with the aim to increase productivity and stimulate economic growth. With financial support from Compete Caribbean, a multi donor funded program, BELTRAIDE hopes to improve the competitiveness among local businesses. Phase one saw a boost in the shrimp sector when the aquaculture players aligned to get the necessary certification, which enabled them to tap into outside markets. The aim now is to continue to build capacity to strengthen other industries to grow.

 

Shahera McKoy

Shahera McKoy, Manager, Export Belize, BELTRAIDE

“The whole idea of clustering is where private sector would come together, whether it is in the same industry or across industry, to accomplish something that is mutually beneficial to them. In the case of the example that we are using today from the shrimp industry, it was their effort to come together as a group to get certification to access niche markets. In other industries, it can be anywhere from training or improving productivity. Whether it may be a reason of coming together to lower costs and companies decide that we are gonna buy something together to lower the costs. So, that is the whole idea of clustering. What we recognize after starting this project, there are a lot of clustering already happening. There are some in the Mennonite Communities and other industries where people are working together but we just have not formally called it clusters. The aim of the project is to build the capacity of business support organizations like BELTRAIDE and from private sector. And so that is what the workshop is about today and we have business support organization from the public and private sector. We have BAHA, Bureau of Standards, Directorate General of Foreign Trade, Belize Poultry Association, Nalum Cacao Institute, Spice Growers Association in the south. The idea is to see how we can come together as business support organizations to better support our private sector in cluster support initiative. The main reason why BELTRAIDE likes this approach is because we see it as a way to share resources, we know Belize is small and we have some challenges with resources but if we can do and offer the support together as institutions that will better support our private sector.”

 

Russell Franklyn

Russell Franklyn, Compete Caribbean

“What we want to do in Compete Phase Two is to pass that methodology on from us because we’re the implementers directly of these programs. We want to pass on that knowledge to entities like BELTRAIDE, who in the future, will pass on these cluster initiatives directly without the support of Compete Caribbean which is a program that will probably end in another four or five years.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“What are some of the specific things you are covering today?”

 

Russell Franklyn

“So, today we are talking about bringing some of the firms and associations together to look at some of the strengths and opportunities and even threats that they can turn into opportunities so that they can work and collaborate together. For example, looking at Shrimp, there was a threat or opportunity in terms of getting their products into Europe by implanting one standard across many shrimp farms. By coming together it, allow them to not only ramp up the amount of product they can supply but also to develop a level of standard across the association. So, what we are hoping to do today is to bring together some firms, like cocoa or even across sectors like people who make chocolate to come together and access some of these opportunities hopefully in the future.”

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