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News Report: Chamber chair: Online start-ups expanding beyond social media

Written by Youri Kemp, Tribune Business News, November 6th, 2023

The Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation's (BCCEC) chairman said online ventures created during COVID are expanding from social media to full scale e-commerce platforms.

Khrystle Rutherford-Ferguson, speaking at Saturday's Chamber-organised Trade Expo 2023, said some of these businesses start “very small with regard to their social media platforms, because that's the introduction into this whole world wide web, and making sure your businesses are on the Internet and able to reach a number of people.

“So we've seen a steady growth from social media platforms to online platforms, and making sure they have their e-commerce platforms," she added. "And, again, that is very important to not only reach local potential customers but international customers. And we continue to see that the international community is interested in doing business in The Bahamas.”

The Trade Expol held at Crypto Isle, was held for the first time since COVID and designed to connect exhibiting companies with a wider public audience. There were 40 businesses represented - from small craft manufacturers to insurance companies, commercial banks and construction firms.

“We have representation from retail services," Mrs Rutherford-Ferguson said. "In terms of the larger businesses, you'd see even some of the clearing banks and some of the insurance companies. In terms of micro businesses and medium-sized businesses, we have persons here who have a team of one to two persons up to employing hundreds of persons in the Bahamian economy.

"So we all know that small and medium-sized businesses, they're the lifeblood of the Bahamian economy. The BCCEC tries to support and give opportunities for them to showcase what they're able to do.

"We have very talented and resilient people and, for that reason, we thought it was important to be able to provide a space where businesses can support each other but also get their brand and awareness out there in the public domain.”

Mrs Rutherford Ferguson continued: “I expect these businesses to make some great connections with each other, too. Because there's a circular economy. There's this opportunity where, yes, you want the public to understand that you exist. Your brand awareness is important, and to make sure that the public can find your business and purchase from you and really take advantage of your services.

"But also businesses can rely on each other to support each other. So that's an important element to making sure that these businesses, at the end of the day, not only put their brand out there more but they make strong connections with each other to support each other."

Following the setbacks caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Mrs Rutherford-Ferguson said companies now must commit to “business continuity planning" while simultaneously ensuring they can reach the widest possible customer base via any and all mediums. E-commerce represents one way to achieve that.

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