Representatives from the City of Houston, TX in Belize on a Trade Mission

Representatives from the City of Houston, TX in Belize on a Trade Mission

 Businesspeople from the U.S. city of Houston, Texas are in Belize for the next five days on a trade mission. The event, organised and led by the Tri-County Regional Black Chamber of Commerce, has been taking place since 2005. It’s an opportunity for these businesspeople to meet, greet and connect with local officials and business counterparts to develop opportunities in both countries. Dale McDougall tells us more in this report. 

Dale McDougall, Love News: Connections, connections, connections: that’s one key goal of the trade mission from Houston, Texas to Belize. For seventeen years running, the Tri-County Regional Black Chamber of Commerce has been linking up businesses in one of America’s fastest growing cities with like-minded people in Belize City. Houston City Councilman, Edward Pollard is one of the leaders of this year’s delegation. 

Edward Pollard – City Councilman, District J, Houston, TX: “We’re here in Belize for a trade mission from the City of Houston. We’re with the regional Black Chamber of Commerce. We have a delegation of fifteen business leaders who are here to explore and understand the opportunities that may be here in Belize.”

Dale McDougall, Love News: One opportunity that’s closely being looked at is housing and infrastructure. Howard Johnson is the Project Manager for the Houston-based 707 Management LLC, who says the opportunities are endless…and he’s racked up quite a few frequent flier miles with his trips to the jewel.

Howard Johnson – Project Manager, 707 Management LLC: “Belize is home for me so I’ve been coming here for over ten years now probably four times a year so my expectation is to engage the diaspora and to find out what the need is at this particular point. We’ve seen needs change over time. I know you guys just had a recent hurricane so the needs have changed so it’s to engage with different businesses and I’m here to partner. I’m not here to take over anything I’m just here to partner with people to see how we can help each other get back to where it was before the hurricane and continue to get better.”

Dale McDougall, Love News: Since Belize is still recovering from the effects of Hurricane Lisa, climate change risk and affordability are on everyone’s minds, including Vanessa Cole, whose company is examining the latest technology to respond to some of the greatest challenges of our time. 

Vanessa Cole – Co-Founder, Cole Klein Builders:” Keeping homes affordable is a challenge and so I shared with the mayor and deputy mayor last night we are looking at 3D printing right now in Houston. We have the first 3D print home going in Council Member Pollard’s district and we’re talking to a company on how do we create a 3D printing community. So to answer the climate change and affordability question is how do we start tapping into new technologies and we need time to test. We need time to show proof of concept. We need to know okay is there a real cost savings here. We need to test and measure are we actually protecting the environment ? Are we eliminating waste ? Are we carbon neutral ? And that takes times. So I shared with the dignitaries here in Belize that let me test this out in Houston first, let us get proof of concept and if this is something that works and it’s proven then I want to invite you guys out come see for yourself and let’s see how we can work together.”

Dale McDougall, Love News: Demetrice Ballenger from the Wynnwood Group says that he’s looking forward to examining some of these possibilities here in Belize after observing some of the infrastructure work happening. 

Demetrice Ballenger – CEO, Wynnwood Group: “When I got here the first thing I noticed was a lot of infrastructure work going on from road ways to bridge construction to new buildings going up so I can only imagine from a commerciality standpoint that there is housing taking place too. After the meeting last night with the local mayor and some of his councilmen team I see there is also opportunity from a standpoint of just business opportunities from agriculture, also the housing market so it’s just understanding of what is the immediate need.”

Dale McDougall, Love News: And if you’re looking for someone to make connections in advertising, Damien Lawson is someone to call. He’s the CEO for 365 Ideas. 

Damien Lawson – CEO, 365 Ideas: “I’m just looking for partnerships and looking for local business owners that I can help and that I can provide my services to them to help them to grow.”

Dale McDougall, Love News: This group of fifteen will be in Belize for the rest of the week. Dale McDougall, Love News. 

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