Two Saint Lucian entrepreneurs, Mr. Terrance Elliot, Managing Director of Converge Solution and Gidden Augustin, Managing Director of Island Tec, Inc. were part of the three-member delegation from Saint Lucia who attended the ALES 2018 8th Annual Convention which took place in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic on October 25 & 26.event. Ms. Yvonne Agard, Managing Director of the SLCSI and Chairperson of the Caribbean Network of Service Coalitions (CNSC) lead the delegation.

The key objective of the event, which was co-organised by Association Latinoamericana de Exportadores de Services (ALES), Centro de Exportacion inversion de la Republica Dominicana (Cei-RD) and Coalicion de Services de Republica Dominicana (CSRD), was to serve as an opportunity to propel Latin America’s position in the services sector. The Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between CARICOM and the Dominican Republic includes special sections on trade in services and investment. Essentially, the countries have agreed to remove restrictions to trade in both areas. Therefore it was an excellent opportunity to expose our entrepreneurs to the prospects that exist in that market and present networking opportunities to attendees.

Saint Lucia’s delegation’s attendance was facilitated by the Caribbean Export Development Agency (CEDA) as one of its initiatives intended to create networking opportunities for entrepreneurs in the services sector across the region.

The event attracted over 300 service companies from across the region and key world players from the United States of America and Europe, as well as delegates from 17 countries, Export and Investment Promotion Organizations, Chambers of Commerce and Export Associations.

An impressive line-up speakers from the USA, Latin America, Curacao and Europe who represented the public and privates sectors and academia presented over the two-day period;   topics addressed included challenges of the digital economy for the insertion on global value chains and the opportunities the global health sector offers to the region. Obtaining financing and success in the Creative Industries sector was also discussed extensively.

Mr. Augustin said he was privileged to have been selected by Caribbean Export to attend and noted that “The Latin American members of ALES are much more committed, prepared, organized and equipped to take advantage of the global opportunities that the service sector offers…however, this encouraged me to accelerate my efforts to build and develop a team and capital at islandTEK if I am to see my vision of us being a global contender in the ICT and other service space”. He declared the trip a success as it opened his eyes to new regional opportunities and the path that must be taken order to advance the cause of not just his business, islandTEK, but the ICT and service sector in St. Lucia in general.

For Ms. Agard, the event was eye-opening and stimulating and noted that “the Latin American countries face similar challenges as ours small island territories; what however, distinguishes them from us, is their structured and proactive approach to addressing the issues” said Ms. Agard.

The SLCSI wishes to thank CEDA for its continued support of the CSIs across the region and the opportunity for our Saint Lucian entrepreneurs to benefit from such events like ALES.

We wish the two entrepreneurs, Terrance and Gidden, every success as they pursue this new market with its endless possibilities.