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Export Max III launches big brother/sister mentorship programme

IN keeping with its mission of guiding local micro, small and medium-size enterprises (MSMEs) on the path of becoming export-ready and equipping them with the knowledge to navigate the market space, Export Max III has officially launched its mentorship programme.

The programme follows a concept of big brother/big sister alliance for export growth and will facilitate a cohort of 49 mentee companies.

The initiative will be led by partner agency, Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association (JMEA). Export Max III is managed by Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC), Jamaica Promotions Corporation (Jampro) and the JMEA.

Jampro’s President Diane Edwards indicated that the programme is a beneficial addition to the Export Max III programme, as it adds a new dimension to its support for participants.

“We believe this will provide the cohort with the knowledge they need to take advantage of today’s export opportunities, and it will inspire them to find new ways to strategically grow their businesses. We have already received excellent feedback from the companies on this initiative and, from our perspective, this positive energy of cooperation and support will lead to big export wins,” she said.

At present the mentorship programme includes Jerome Miles, general manager of Rainforest Seafoods Limited; Stephen Dawkins, group export manager of Wisynco Group Limited; John Mahfood, chief executive officer of Jamaican Teas Limited; and Dr Andre Gordon, managing director of Technological Solutions Limited.

According to Jampro, plans are in place to secure an additional 10 mentors to facilitate the programme.

The participants will benefit from a one-hour, virtual session with the selected mentor and will be assisted in key areas such as market intelligence and data gathering; provision of referrals; sharing of distributor listing and contacts; sourcing of packaging, raw materials, and equipment; along with information and resource sharing in areas relating to law, finances, marketing standards, export steps and processes, among others.

A total of four mentorship sessions have been executed since the beginning of the year and these sessions will continue through to September 2022.

According to Jampro’s Vice-President of Sales and Promotions Norman Naar, several companies have been exposed to market penetration opportunities in Europe, Canada, the US and the Caribbean.

A total of 33 exporters have gained new contracts or orders since Export Max III was launched, and many of the participants are “diligently and successfully pursuing e-commerce opportunities”.

Annakaye Tucker, manager of Linga Ya Farms and a participant in the mentorship programme, indicated that in seeking to target a wider market she applied to the Export Max III programme.

“Although my background is in sales and marketing, I really didn’t know about export marketing – and in order to export, we approached Jampro to find out what the requirements were. We really have leaned on them heavily, and all of their partners, to assist us,” she shared.