BARBADOS / SURINAME – A new project financed by the European Union (EU) and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) is set to provide 60 micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in Suriname with skills and strategies that will strengthen their export capabilities for entry to new regional markets.
The 22-month initiative, titled “Marketing and Branding of Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises in CARICOM”, is supported through the CARIFORUM-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) and CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) Standby Facility for Capacity Building. The EUR394,622 project includes a 25 percent contribution from the Government of Suriname.
During the official project launch on October 20, 2022 in Paramaribo, representatives from CDB, EU and the Government of Suriname, provided details on how the initiative will help participating firms to close gaps in export opportunities through targeted assistance.
Speaking at the launch, Daniel Best, director of CDB’s projects department, expressed the bank’s interest in and support for the project:
“We are commencing this exciting initiative knowing that it will lead to a strengthening of the trading power of 60 MSMEs operating in Suriname. The. project’s investment and technical expertise will empower this cadre of beneficiaries to overcome challenges faced in promoting their products and services across CARIFORUM Member States.”
Enterprises will receive support in market research and brand development; skills development in branding, marketing, and communication; and capacity development in export readiness. They will also gain an increased understanding of export prospects. The project will also sensitise entrepreneurs, particularly women, youth and those in rural communities, to opportunities in three selected markets: Barbados, Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago.
By optimising intraregional trade as a mechanism for increasing integration and attracting new market opportunities, project partners are hopeful the opportunity will serve as a springboard for Suriname MSMEs to gain experience in and awareness of exporting requirements so they can eventually access global markets.
Project beneficiary Wensley Perea, director of Amea Cashew & Pineapple Industries N.V. also attended the launch and shared his gratitude by stating:
“This project is very important for Surinamese MSMEs as we lack capacity to export. This project is something that we value. We look forward to the support to help us enter regional and international markets.”
Featured speaker, Rishma Kuldipsingh, minister of economic affairs, entrepreneurship and technological innovation, commended project partners and beneficiaries by adding:
“I congratulate you all on this milestone and wish the team success in executing this project. The Government of Suriname is grateful for our partnership with the EU and CDB through the EPA and CSME Standby Facility for Capacity Building. By working together, we will achieve desired growth and development for MSMEs so they can significantly contribute and add value to our national and regional economies.”
“This project will build economic resilience through private sector development and growth of MSMEs in Suriname. It will also enhance business support organisations and develop their capacity to provide strategic advice on marketing, branding and export development approaches within the region,” explained Joan Nadal Sastre, head of cooperation, delegation of the European Union to Guyana, for Suriname and with responsibility for Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, Saba, St Barthelemy, St Eustatius and St Maarten.
The CARIFORUM-EU EPA and CSME Standby Facility for Capacity Building, which is financing the project, is a EUR 8.75 million resource that offers opportunities to 15 Caribbean economies to grow trade, deepen integration and economic involvement, impact competitiveness, market access and exports by implementing targeted projects in thematic areas. The project is one of 25 Standby Facility initiatives currently being implemented across the region.