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NEIA continues its work to help Atlantic Canadian firms build business relationships in Caribbean markets

St. John’s (NL) – Last month, ten (10) firms from Atlantic Canada returned from a NEIA-led business development mission to the Caribbean, including activities in Trinidad & Tobago, Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Granada, and the Bahamas.

“This is the seventh business development mission we have led into the region over the past five years,” says Abbie Lacey, NEIA’s Manager of International Business Development. “Our program, running since 2013, is comprehensive and has provided firms with a wide range of supports beyond just these missions,” explains Lacey.

Lacey says that a mission to market is one of the last steps for a firm participating in the program. “We help businesses acquire market intelligence specific to them to gain a better understanding of the need or opportunity relating to their products or services in the region,” she explains. “We then work with each firm to develop a strategy to pursue business in the most opportune areas, and do considerable work up-front to uncover and pre-qualify a series of potential partners for them in the region.” Only after this work has been done, says Lacey, is a firm ready to participate on an outbound mission.

Lacey says firms in Atlantic Canada are well positioned to engage in Caribbean markets. “The products and services developed in this region can work well in other island and rural coastal environments, such as those found in the Caribbean.” Lacey notes the region faces similar challenges such as the impacts of climate change, coastal zone erosion, distance from markets, and economies that are resource dependent. “Our province has a long history of trade with the Caribbean, and we are working to continue and deepen that tradition.”

NEIA’s Caribbean program will continue with a follow-up mission to the region in the Spring of 2020. Lacey is encouraging interested firms to get in touch. “Since the beginning of its program, NEIA has helped almost 30 firms develop strategies to enter Caribbean markets, and there have been some remarkable successes” she says. “Atlantic Canada has a long history of trade with the Caribbean, and we are eager to continue and deepen that tradition.”

NEIA’s international business initiatives in the region are a product of a continued collaboration with the Department of Tourism, Culture, Innovation, and Industry, the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), and Global Affairs Canada. “The provincial government, ACOA, and our Trade Commissioners have been strong partners in the pursuit of international business growth for our sector,” said Lacey. “We look forward to continued collaboration towards the diversification of the region’s economy through export and trade.”

NEIA is a not-for-profit association of businesses that promotes the development of clean technology and the growth of the green economy in Newfoundland and Labrador. NEIA has over 200 members. More information can be found at https://neia.org.

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