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.