CARIFORUM Businesses Gain Better Understanding of EU’s Economic Partnership Agreement and How to Access To Donor Funds

13 specialists in trade, investment and manufacturing from 10 countries came together under the auspices of Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export) for three days in Barbados to gain better insights on how to successfully access grant funding from donor agencies. Participants were also provided with information on the European Union – CARIFORUM of Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) and its potential for regional firms.

According to Senior Grants Advisor with Caribbean Export, Kirk Brown, one of the main objectives of the workshop was how to enhance the capacity of Business Support Organisations (BSO) in assisting firms to access funding as well as increasing the number of successfully applications and the award of more grants to these member states.’

This intervention is a continuation of Caribbean Export’s efforts in the region to enhance BSO technical capacity and firms’ awareness and understanding of grant funding. A total of 23 grant writing proposal workshops were held in CARIFORUM member states with over 605 participants being trained in 2009.

The sessions were interactive and dynamic with practical components to ensure that intricacies of applying for grants, submitting applications and budget preparation for funding purposes were not only understood but carried out adequately.

Mr. Brown, in explaining why Caribbean Export insists on proper procedures, told those gathered that, ‘we take our role seriously, our role is to assist you as best we can, so when we ask for accuracy and detailed information it is because we want your grant or funding application to be successful.’

Workshop participants paying attention to a presentation from Caribbeann Export.

Workshop participants paying attention to a presentation from Caribbeann Export.

The Direct Assistance Scheme provides assistance to companies to address the constraints encountered as they enhance their capacity, develop new products or access regional and extra-regional markets. To date 67 firms representing twelve (12) CARIFORUM States have been awarded grants totalling EUR 1,273,398 in the following sectors; Creative Industries, Professional Services, Health & Wellness and Information & Communication Technology and manufacturing.

The workshop was attended by the Antigua and Barbuda Investment Authority, a representative from the Belize Trade and Investment Development Service, the Head of Finance and Administration in the OECS/Export Development Unit in Dominica, the Office of Multilateral Cooperation in the Dominican Republic, the Grenada Industrial Development Corporation, the Haitian Canadian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the St. Kitts & Nevis Ministry of Foreign, Affairs, International Trade, Industry, Commerce and Consumer Affairs, the St. Lucian Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Consumer Affairs as well as the St. Lucian, Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation, Invest SVG and the Manufacturing Association of Suriname. These BSOs were selected on the basis of a small number of applications being submitted and/or no applications being awarded a grant under the 1st and 2nd Call for Proposals.

This workshop was funded by the EU under the 9th Economic Development Fund (EDF) Caribbean Trade and Private Sector Development Programme (CTPSDP).

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