Grand Bahama News

ProNet workshop prepares GB business owners for growth

Grand Bahama Chamber of Commerce (GBCC) in conjunction with Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA) and Caribbean Export Development Agency (CEDA), recently hosted a training session to assist entrepreneurs and business owners to build capacity, and to prepare them for trade engagement in the regional and globalized environment.

Dr. Mahindra Ramesh Ramdeen, CEO of the Trinidad Manufacturing Association and lecturer at the Institute of Business, University of the West Indies, Trinidad and Tobago, was the guest facilitator.

“ProNet is a business ideology collaboration with CEDA and German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) that recognized the need to build entrepreneurship capacity in the Caribbean region,” Ramdeen explained.

He added that while conducting training sessions throughout the Caribbean, he realized there was a lack of knowledge about trading arrangements and practices and understanding diverse cultures.

“So, someone in Grand Bahama might have an exceptionally superior product, but it’s a best-kept secret because they are not manufacturing it for export purposes,” Ramdeen said.

“They are only producing for the domestic market, but you cannot grow if you’re only selling to the few thousands in Freeport.”

The workshop’s purpose is to help participants think of creative avenues in which to expand their businesses, regionally and internationally.

“So, if you want to grow your operation, you can’t just produce more, but you have to produce more with labeling standards – labeling requirements, packaging requirements – understanding the ideologies and the culture of the people who are buying your product,” Ramdeen said.

“No one goes into business just to make a product for making a product’s sake. That is a hobby. You go into business to make a profit.

“So, if I can bring some ideas about how to cut cost, how to market the product better and how to increase profitability, which is what I am about.”

ProNet’s framework, which consists of 10 modules that speak to enhancing capacity in certain business areas, including business strategy, product development, human resource, financial services, export and more, has been in existence since 2014.

GBPA’s Business Services Manager LaShawn Dames said, “These are real and tangible opportunities; therefore, we are encouraging the business community to take advantage of [them].

“They have access to the information, to the technology, the technical expertise of a global trainer that can help them not just create something new but get into the marketplace and to make it profitable for their business.”

Entrepreneur Beverley Pilgrim-Beckford, who recently married and relocated to Grand Bahama, said the seminar was highly informative.

“My husband is a business owner and I want to help him take it to the next level, and the seminar caused us to think outside of just competing here locally,” she said.

Pilgrim-Beckford, who, too, has a product she’s working on to bring to the market, added, “The lecturer not only was knowledgeable about the topics but spoke from, what I determine was, experience.”

One example Pilgrim-Beckford said stood out for her referenced electric vehicles.

“Dr. Ramdeen questioned, ‘Why can’t a restaurant owner provide electrical outlets for customers who have transitioned to electric cars to charge their batteries while dining?’

“It was as though he deflated the bubble we have — that we exist alone in a global environment. So, after the two days, I honestly believe we must get ready for what is coming.”

More than 20 participants registered for the workshop, which was held at the GBCC complex last week.

The training session was the first in-person workshop held by GBCC since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Show More

Related Articles

Back to top button