Caribbean Export, Caribbean Development Bank and European Union – Partnering for Success
The onset of the 2020 global pandemic changed the landscape for business for ever. In the Caribbean businesses have had to rethink how they operate, pivot, upskill and retool to survive. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Caribbean Export in collaboration with the European Union has provided a range a range of assistance to CARIFORUM firms to help mitigate the impact. Caribbean Export is enhancing its support through partnering with the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) with the implementation of a technical assistance programme that includes financial assistance and a suite of online training to build the capacity of participating firms.
Technical Assistance Grants
A total amount of six hundred thousand United States dollars (USD600,000) in grant funding from CDB is made available to finance a second Call for Proposal for MSMEs facilitated and administered by Caribbean Export. MSMEs from 14 of CDB’s borrowing member countries (BMC) and CARIFORUM – namely Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, The Bahamas, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago (Eligible BMCs) and the Dominican Republic that have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic can apply for a technical assistance grant.
Capacity Building and Training
To bring a holistic approach to supporting regional MSMEs impacted by the COVID-19 the provision of a suite of capacity building tools to complement the technical assistance are to be developed. These tools will be made available to MSMEs online via an eLearning portal hosted by Caribbean Export. eLearning and its inherent accessibility advantages are even more important during this time when travel restrictions are still in place. To support the capacity building of MSMEs, online training modules for a MSME development course will be developed. Further, the modules being developed will be consistent with the basic needs of MSMEs and will be made available free of cost.
Proposed courses for the MSME eLearning series include: (a) Social media marketing. (b) Financial literacy and management and managing finances during a crisis. (c) Supply chain management. (d) Distribution channel mapping. (e) Building a competitive brand innovation and entrepreneurship. (g) Crisis management. (h) Workforce protection. (i) Operations and supply chain stabilisation. (j) Finance and liquidity stress testing. (k) Customer engagement. (l) Recovery actions to support business growth.