Have you ever seen Toes dance with a Prince? This was the scene on Friday November 24, 2017 at the opening ceremony of the 10th annual Taiwan – Saint Lucia Partnership Trade Exhibition when the ‘Third Prince’, a Taiwanese religious folk icon, danced on stage with Toes, popular Saint Lucian masquerade characters. The aim was to artistically symbolize the strengthening bond and intermingling of cultures between the two countries.
Members of the Department of Commerce, Taiwanese Embassy and other associated agencies had been reeling about last weekend’s events for weeks leading up to the occasion. With an ensemble of 66 Saint Lucian and seven Taiwanese companies occupying the entire first floor of the Johnson’s Centre in Rodney Bay, their dedication to making this 10th edition of the exhibition a success was evident!
During the opening ceremony, Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister with responsibility for Commerce, Industry, Investment, Enterprise Development and Consumer Affairs Hon. Bradley Felix said that the hosting of the trade show for ten consecutive years “reflects a certain degree of commitment to, belief in and understanding of the private sector as an agent of growth in a free market economy. It signals an acceptance by the governments of Taiwan and Saint Lucia that there is a critical role for government in providing an enabling environment for business to flourish”.
The minister, along with his team, has lamented in the last few weeks – with November being observed as Business Month in Saint Lucia – the importance of Saint Lucian enterprises forging relationships and working together. In accordance with this notion, the night before the trade exhibition opened, a mixer was facilitated to encourage all participants to network and foster relationships.
Among goods on display at the trade exhibition were locally produced shoes, bags, clothing, skincare products, pillows, liquor, food items, innovative technology and more. Company owners and
representatives stood sturdily behind their designated booths, ready and willing to answer the questions of potential buyers, the taste of business and opportunity palpable in the room.
Two representatives of Real 3D Printing (R3D), a company utilizing 3D printers to create a limitless array of custom goods for clients, were among the sea of entrepreneurs. According to them both, the revolutionary technology, which is currently sweeping the globe, has the potential to help reduce import costs, particularly in the medical, architectural and auto mechanical fields in Saint Lucia. Chris
Tanner, from the same company, on his hopes moving forward from the exhibition, said, “Saint Lucia, yes we are small but we have to start somewhere. We are ready for it, this could help in so many ways . . . we could even build an industry doing this.”
The enthusiasm and creativity of Saint Lucian business owners and operators have been taking centre stage as of late. More and more individuals, young and old, are setting aside their doubts and taking on entrepreneurial endeavours. Opportunities like the Taiwan – Saint Lucia Partnership Trade Exhibition seem to not only serve as platforms for these owners but also confidence boosters.