Jamaica is on track to continue to enjoy good economic prospects for 2023, according to president of the Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association (JMEA), John Mahfood, who shared his outlook for the future during last Thursday’s signing ceremony of a memorandum of understanding between the JMEA and the Caribshopper.
This partnership is projected to provide excellent opportunities for export market expansion for local micro, small and medium sized enterprises manufacturing quality and authentic products. The signing took place at Outpost Republic on Lady Musgrave Road in Kingston with a number of businesses represented and included a brief presentation on Caribshopper’s business model, a demonstration of the Website and networking possibilities. Caribshopper is a full-service online marketplace that provides direct access to the US and some Canadian markets for Caribbean producers.
“We are indeed committed to exploring all possible avenues to increase the export opportunities for market entry and expansion and we believe that 2023 is going to be a good year economically. We see the projections of five per cent growth in manufacturing. We see that inflation for the past three months – November, December, January is actually negative with January being minus negative point six per cent. I expect that to continue, which is going to augur well for us as business people and manufacturers. So bear that in mind and be optimistic and work hard,” Mahfood charged his audience.
The JMEA president went on to offer guidelines to fledgling business, warning of some of the obstacles to selling on the e-commerce platform.
“It is hard to sell your products online and you can’t just leave it to Caribshopper or anybody else to do it for you. You have to work hard. So be patient because in the next five years that’s where the bulk of sales are going to be, online. We just have to be there from now.
“The other thing that I think that a lot of Jamaican companies make the mistake is their pricing. We think that since we are not selling a lot of products, we have to sell the product at a high price. You are not going to get the sales unless you are competitive. You have to be selling at the price that the competitors are selling at; you have to take that into account and you have to shave your margins and you have to sacrifice.”
The MOU signed last week should go a far way in helping Jamaica to emerge from the long-held perception of a country of samples, according to president of JAMPRO Shullette Cox.
Cox told the signing ceremony that while this perception has dogged Jamaica for decades, she thinks that for our exporters it has always been a chicken and egg situation.
“Does supply come before or after the demand? I think that based on the numbers and the possibilities that we are seeing, we can now put a strong value proposition to our clients to say, ‘Hey, this is the demand’ and you don’t have to ramp up to 10,000 or more products in order to take advantage of the demand. You can take advantage of it in bits and pieces until we get to where we want to get.”
Meanwhile, founder and CEO of Caribshopper Kadion Preston said that in 2022 the company shipped over 68,000 packages to the United States and Canada and is looking to expand its operations to the United Kingdom by the third quarter of 2023. This is up from the 28,000 shipped to 48 states in America, as well as Quebec and Ontario, Canada in 2021.
Cox pointed out that this initiative which is driven on the bedrock of electronic communication and selling is consistent with a new strategy approved by JAMPRO’s board of directors a few weeks ago of which exports via the electronic sales is a big part.
“I can commit on behalf of JAMPRO that whatever we can do to help you grow, we will,” she assured.
Source The Jamaica Gleaner
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