UNIDO means "united" in Spanish, but it also stands for the United Nations Industrial Development Organization. It's a body which specializes in forming what are known as export consortia - which is plural for consortium.

In plain language, that means getting small businesses together so that they can export their products. Here's how it works: many small businesses don't have enough volume or know how to get their products exported. So UNIDOS has a system of getting many small producers together, using know how to raise their products to export grade, and then combining their volume to get those products out into the world.

The programme was launched in Belize today and Trade CEO Mike Singh explained how the programme would work for small and medium enterprises:..

"When you speak about a consortia which is essentially getting exporters together in a group and it works very well with small exporters that may not have the wherewithal to go after markets around, but by combining resources and building the mechanism and how these resources can be combined. That's really what the training will be about for the next two days. Today what we are talking about is how do we get people together as groups so that they can have economies scale to be able to combine their resources to access markets that they can't do on their own."

Those interested in the program can visit the Small Business Development Center or Beltraide. The service is provided at no cost. According to Singh increased trade and a better business climate is the new anti-dote to poverty. Now, the Barrow Administration orthodoxy has been that pro-poor social assistance programmes and public spending on manual labour would have put a dent in poverty, but Singh today proposed that the push must come from the private sector:

"Economic development is absolutely without question the only way we can ultimately defeat poverty and without a strong private sector and by this I mean not only the large established companies but rather a mosaic of enterprises raging from employees, micro-business all the way up to large producers across the spectrum. True sustainable growth cannot be achieved unless we develop this part of our economy. We have been diligently seeking and implementing programs and policies aimed at allowing business to prosper - have spelled out today how government through our ministry is on a dramatic journey. We are changing our people, our training, our programs and our resources while strengthening our private sector partnership. We are making government pro-entrepreneur, pro-business because that's how we ultimately defeat poverty."

Channel 7

A workshop on the branding of Belizean products exported to international markets

A two-day workshop began today at the Radisson Fort George in Belize City. It focuses on branding the Belizean products that are exported to various markets around the world. Dubbed the Belize Export and Origin Consortia Workshop, the Caribbean Development Bank in partnership with the Belize Coalition of Service Providers has organized the initiative to assist service and product manufacturers and providers in sectors of tourism, agriculture and other goods to explore the possibility of exporting collectively. The idea is to see various organizations within a particular industry to share techniques and contacts in order to meet the demands, quality and standards of international markets. And so today, stakeholders gathered for a crash course addressing the benefits of grouping firms for export using the methodology of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization. The workshop is part of the United Kingdom’s development support initiative to CARICOM states.

Grace Chun, UK Deputy High Commissioner to Belize

Grace Chun

“It focuses on fostering economic growth and job creation. The expected results include helping the private sector enter new markets, creating jobs and implementing business environment reforms to cut red tape and to facilitate investment.  It’s an organization of several businesses or banks joining together as a group for a shared purpose. Your shared purpose is to bring the three CARTFund projects together to find joint solutions to the challenges and constraints that they face, overcoming the barriers preventing small firms and producers entering global and particularly EU markets is the core of what the UK is seeking to achieve through the CARTFund. As Henry ford once said, coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress, but working together is success. So I hope that this CARTFund event provides the opportunity that you need to drive forward the creation of export consortia to help businesses in Belize compete and win in the global market.”

Channel 5