This month BELTRAIDE is celebrating National Competitiveness Month and will be holding several activities with the aim of improving Belize’s competitiveness. The Export to CARICOM Roundtable was the first event which was held yesterday. Love news spoke with Melanie Gideon, the General Manager of BELTRAIDE, who said that the roundtable was a success.
Melanie Gideon – General Manager, BELTRAIDE: “That’s the signature event to launch this months of activities, we partnered with the Director General of Foreign Trade and CARICOM. Belize is CARICOM, we are a part of CARICOM and in 2016 we exported about I want to say 240 million dollars in valuable goods and most of it came from four companies and so it’s about how as a mandate as a government agency. How do we get more exporters in the CARICOM Market so we did what was the most logical thing to do, we brought in a room of current exporters to talk to potential exporters and teach them, share ideas, share the growing pains of what it was like exporting into CARICOM so What to do? What not to do? What to be mindful for? What not to focus your energies on and then we had also the technical people in there as well from the Foreign Trade to advise them of where opportunities lye. We have a lot of interest from CARICOM for Turmeric, Yellow Ginger and certain types of palm oils, these are things that Belize as a country can facilitate so it’s again giving them not only how to access the market but what are the opportunities in that market which is CARICOM so that was the signature event and it went well the room was packed and it was a very dynamic conversation between the veterans and the newbies.”
Gideon went on to list factors that contribute to a company having a competitive edge.
Melanie Gideon – General Manager, BELTRAIDE: “Is where every year we want to continuously sensitize and educate the Belizean community, the public but what is competitiveness? Competitiveness isn’t external to a company, it’s not external to an individual, and it’s not external to the economy. Competitiveness is all internal, a company cannot be competitive until it improves its efficiency as anywhere from how It recruits its employees, to how it sets up its system when it comes to inventory control ,how its standard operating procedures, risk management, all of these things, these strategies, these policies, these procedures is what defines a company’s competitiveness. When it comes to labor one of the critical factors for a company’s competitiveness is getting the right labor so the Belizean labor or the Belizean individual needs to know that there skill must be relevant to the company they are applying to, not only relevant but continuously relevant so you are continuously self-improving a competitive company, a more mindful company will also continuously train its employees because it’s all about sustaining competitiveness which is not static.”
Other activities plan include Export Belize Artist Toolkit, Export Belize Trade Clinic, and a Career Fair.