As much as it hopes to host a hybrid physical and virtual event for this year’s Trade and Investment Convention (TIC), the TT Manufacturers’ Association (TTMA) is prepared to go completely digital if necessary. The association launched its 22nd annual flagship business networking convention on Friday; the actual event will be in August.
Last year, because of covid19 restrictions, the event was forced to be online – but it was still deemed a success. The event had over 50 virtual exhibitors, 4,000 registered users and 30,000 platform hits, TTMA president Franka Costelloe announced, with 90 virtual booths and exhibitor pavilions.
“The new normal of doing business, virtually, required TTMA to invest in a digital platform in 2020,” she said. “TTMA has invested further into the digitisation of TIC to improve the experience and interaction.” She the association is building its own e-commerce platform to facilitate payments, as well as a virtual market place for all TT manufacturers to retail their products around the world. “This is ground breaking and is a consolidated effort to support SMEs and the export drive,” she said.
Part of TIC’s growth came from supporting services like IT, banking and finance, marketing, equipment providers and raw material suppliers.
“These associate businesses, that support manufacturing, provide new opportunities for growth in manufacturing. It is our vision that TIC 2021 will provide an enhanced platform to connect core manufacturers with supportive businesses," she said.
Costelloe implored her colleagues to “be on the offensive and advance forward.”
“There are opportunities out there. Invest in research and development and launch new products that speak to the changing consumer trends. Increase your marketing spend, when costs are low and competitors have retreated. Invest in upskilling your staff with new skills and hire new talent.
"Look to new markets to increase market share. Focus on the products that are trending globally and adapt your packaging for export. Consider joint ventures or buy outs. Expand or upgrade your equipment line to dominate your market share. History has shown that this is the time.”
It is an accepted fact that TT’s economic stability rests on the success of the non-oil and gas sector, she said, and TIC is a congregation of just that.
“We come together to support each other and find new ways to grow our businesses. It is your participation that will create a potential supply or demand opportunity.”