Director, Priority International Denis St Bernard

Director, Priority International Denis St Bernard

The Caribbean Enterprise Network (CENUK), which currently has an SME Network of over 300 UK Companies which have set their sights on opportunities to grow into emerging markets, such as Africa, while exploring natural B2B opportunities in the Caribbean, cited CENUK’s Spokesman Denis St.Bernard.

Caribbean Enterprise Network (CENUK) is a social enterprise focused on helping Caribbean businesses, wherever they are based, to increase their competitiveness and export capability into the global market. CENUK is based in London, United Kingdom.

‘We are seeing signs of growing interest in this area, which could create a potential surge in UK Minority SMEs working and networking together to take advantage of the immense growth opportunities in these emerging markets…

…To this end we are now embarking on our first UK / African Trade Mission to the Caribbean (TRINIDAD AND JAMAICA) from the 20th – 28th JAN, 2013, outlined St.Bernard.

He went on to explain that the African markets present not only lucrative, but natural markets for Caribbean SMEs who continue to be challenged due to lack of growth opportunities in the slowing Caribbean and UK economies, apart from the traditional business challenges faced by minority SMEs in the UK such as access to bank financing, high levels of unemployment etc.
Despite these challenges a large percentage of these SMEs have managed to survive and grow, this was evidenced by a recent report from the Bank of England on minority businesses in the UK, which shows that Caribbean UK Businesses in particular have one of the highest percentage of entrepreneurial skill sets or entrepreneurial attitude than any other minority community in the UK.

He added, “A recent Barclays Bank report also highlighted that in the UK Black and minority ethnic minority (BME) business owners are increasingly recognised as important contributors to the small business population.

Their entrepreneurial efforts are noticeable across many regions in the UK. Recent policy developments have established the significance of BME enterprise as a vehicle for promoting economic inclusion as a generator of social and financial capital and as an activity meriting dedicated support initiatives”.

However, St. Bernard said, “there needs to be more collaboration and networking among Caribbean UK businesses so we can leverage and be stronger in business which is one of key objectives of CENUK”.



Group Managing Director of Courteville Business Solutions, Bola Akindele. Photo courtesy

Group Managing Director of Courteville Business Solutions, Bola Akindele. Photo courtesy

Caribbean Enterprise Network (CENUK – ) will be embarking on its first African / UK Business Trade Mission to Jamaica & Trinidad & Tobago (January 20th to 28th 2013), featuring a leading Nigerian ICT and Business Solutions company, the Courteville Group who is listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, accompanied by our strategic online partner and three (3) other UK SMEs from the ICT and Business Support Sectors.

Courteville’s CEO, Mr Bola Akindele will be speaking at the JSE (Jamaica Stock Exchange) Conference -where he will address the gathering on the topic, ‘Doing Business in Africa’ under the conference theme ‘Forging the Right  Regional & Global Alliances’.

Mr. Alex Pon; CEO of PACTRANS Air & Sea China, Inc. will also render a presentation on Doing Business in China. These presentations will be delivered on Thursday 24th January at the Jamaica Pegasus where Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller is a keynote speaker on the topic, “Moving Jamaica to Developed Nation Status by 2030” is an online media house which gathers news and information from the Caribbean region for dissemination to the Caribbean Diaspora and vice versa. With only original articles provided by a raft of writers from around the Caribbean, the USA and Britain, ranging from the amateur to the professional and boasting a total of 370,000 readers to date from over 170 countries.

We are hoping that on the back of this Mission that a few Caribbean SMEs will take up the opportunity to do a reverse Mission to Nigeria and Ghana planned for June, 2013 followed by an African / Caribbean Expo in October 2013, which will see greater traffic and business opportunities for Caribbean SMEs.

Based on these plans we will be exploring several strategic alliances with major Caribbean based SME organisations and institutions going forward. We have been in receipt of encouraging feedback support from the likes of JAMPRO and InvesTT and several private sector organisations, which have already identified with the vision. One such company includes Priority Group International (PGI), a Jamaican based Business Support Services Group with subsidiaries in Trinidad and the UK. Priority Group , with its UK Subsidiary in the UK (Priority First UK ltd, will be taking the lead in spearheading this Mission.

Denis St.Bernard is an International Business Consultant in the Business Support Services Sector, based in the UK. He is the Co- Founding Director of Caribbean Enterprise Network UK .