The Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) has approved a US$417,000 grant for a project that will boost local business participation in Barbados’ tourism industry. The Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) and local businesses will provide an additional $285,000 in cash and in-kind resources for a total project investment of over $700,000.
The project seeks to integrate micro and small businesses as suppliers to key hotels and restaurants operating in Barbados. At least 150 local businesses supplying a range of products and 30 hotels and restaurants are expected to participate.
The Barbados tourism industry recognizes the need for greater local content, but hoteliers often face high costs purchasing from small businesses. The MIF has experience in integrating small firms and producers into the supply chains of large enterprises in Latin America and the Caribbean, and will provide technical support as well as financial resources to the project.
The project will pilot an innovative model using an independent consolidator who will support negotiations between buyers and small firms and develop a quality assurance scheme. It will also establish a digital networking and trading platform, develop a financial model for working capital management, and support targeted business exchanges between small and micro businesses and key buyers for the island’s hotels and restaurants.