BMEX 2021 Update
BARBADOS MANUFACTURERS’ ASSOCIATION VIRTUAL EXHIBITION LAUNCH OF THE 37th EDITION OF BMEX
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S WELCOME
Good morning! Welcome to the virtual launch of the 37th edition of BMEX.
I am Shardae Boyce, Executive Director of the Barbados Manufacturers’ Association.
The Barbados Manufacturers’ Exhibition, popularly known as BMEX, is internationally characterized by its ability to bring people together: to do business, exchange information, and share or transfer knowledge in a physical space. This year, we will not be physically gathered for the majority of the BMEX events but I am confident that the main deliverables of the exhibition will be achieved.
When the Team at the BMA was tasked with developing a virtual exhibition, in light of the fluctuating COVID-19 cases nationally which created some uncertainty, we knew that we were committing ourselves to the delivery of a quality exhibition. We wanted to create an exhibition that will serve, not only businesses, but one that will allow greater participation of a wider cross section of our local and global populations. The creation of an exhibition of substance fitting for the current socio-economic environment we are facing was our overarching goal. Therefore we created an exhibition premised on the answers to the following questions:
- How can we maintain and improve the deliverables of BMEX in an environment that requires us to be socially distance and with restrictions on mass gatherings?
- How can we create a safe and controlled environment which allows economic activity to be generated for our exhibitors, while providing exposure for our young designers and garment makers;
- How can we deliver our products to the world in an environment characterized by restrictions to travel?
- How can we guarantee the sharing and transfer of knowledge to allow small businesses to be better equipped to carry on through the most challenging economic times ever to be experienced by the world? and
- How do we effectively engage in building local brand awareness while promoting cultural identity and cross sectoral linkages in an environment where it is easy to view economic diversification in silos because of the crisis we face?
This required innovative thinking. Innovation in this instance means using a combination of past and modern ways of doing things to achieve a workable result or solution. A result or solution that better serves people at a specific time and in accordance to the relevant needs at that time. Innovation is creating feasible responses to particular problems and THAT is what the virtual edition of BMEX sets out to do!
The BMA recognizes that our resilience was more than our challenges and the opportunities of growth through an exhibition that will be 99% virtual can allow businesses more opportunities based on the persons they can reach and the partnerships they can build within seconds in a virtual space.
We recognized that instead of lamenting and complaining we have to learn to adapt if we are going to not only survive but thrive. We have to adapt because even in light of a vaccination, COVID will be with us for a very long time.
It is against this backdrop, the theme for BMEX 2021 was birthed: “Resilience and growth via adaptation”. This theme reflects everything the BMA values, especially in the current environment. We embrace it!
It is at this point I will hand over to my President Mr. John Marshall to further expand on BMEX 2021 which will be executed under his stewardship.
Greetings to all! My name is Mr. John Marshall, President of the Barbados Manufacturers’ Association also abbreviated as the BMA. Today I speak to you with much pride. I am proud to be associated with a sector that has illustrated its resilience throughout the most difficult time in our history. More importantly I am thrilled to lead an organization that supported the success of the manufacturing sector for over 57 years. Within those 57 years, the association evolved to serve the needs of the sector during the changing scenes of our lifetime.
We continue to be nimble to ensure we are positioned to respond and provide meaningful representation to the demographic we serve. The execution of a hybrid exhibition which features majority virtual components will be the necessary change we are introducing to BMEX this year as we navigate the COVID-19 environment, to ensure we continue to expose our products and services to the world.
Hundreds of exhibitions around the world were cancelled due to the uncertainty COVID 19 presented. However, the BMA is continuing with hosting BMEX because there is steady demand from local, regional, and international customers for quality Barbadian made products, and those customers recognize BMEX as a key event that brings people together to learn, to inspire, and ultimately to do business.. BMEX is focused on the deliverables of:
- winning new customers for Barbadian businesses; and
- making innovations tangible with all the senses, therefore presenting products and services convincingly to the world.
This year we will achieve all that we set out to do using the best technologies. There will be 3 main components of this year’s activities:
- A series of webinars, IGTV Shows and video content aimed at sharing information and allowing businesses and potential manufacturers to learn from the experiences and best practices of businesses internationally.
- There will be a virtual exhibition which mimics our past physical exhibitions. In essence this will be a business directory allowing customers to experience the products of our exhibitors through our e-commerce platform. The BMA’s virtual marketplace, accessible through the BMA’s website, will offer delivery of their products. This helps provide tangible access in a safe environment.
- Our famous fashion show, created by our team members John Hunte and Adzil Stuart, will be delivered in a hybrid format– COVID 19 situation permitting. Participants joining the event live will have an exclusive experience while virtual participants will be able to view from the comfort of their home. This widens the scope of exposure for our garment makers and designers. This year we have introduced an exciting feature of the fashion show, this is a Caribbean component. The fashion show will be something to experience for our physical attendee’s and a sight for our virtual participants.
Every element of the exhibition will illustrate the relevance of our theme. “Resilience & Growth via Adaptation” which conveys:
- A holistic approach to facing challenges;
- The resilience of the manufacturing sector;
- The manufacturing sector as a viable sector to aid in economic diversification;
- Bajan made is good for Barbados and can stimulate growth;
- The importance of forming key linkages for growth; and
- The relevance of our nation’s youth and technology in all that we do.
BMEX 2021 is more than an exhibition. It is a response to our challenges, a showcase of how much we can achieve if all sectors of our economy join hand in hand to rebuild, an exhibition that is people oriented which tries to create opportunities for regular people. We are excited to deliver it to you and we know you will enjoy!