ITC trains companies in Central America to take advantage of e-commerce opportunities (en)
As part of the project “Linking Central American Women Business Enterprises with the Global Gifts and Home Decoration Market”, ITC is training coaches who work within local institutions to advise 200 women-led businesses in the handicraft sector to sell their products online.
This initiative financed by the European Union (EU) and implemented by the International Trade Centre (ITC) in coordination with the Central American Economic Integration Secretariat (SIECA) is part of the Regional Economic Integration Project in Central America (INTEC).
In this context, ITC is empowering small and medium sized enterprises in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama through workshops in e-commerce. These workshops will group the six beneficiary countries into groups and provide training in four distinct sessions.
The first workshop took place in El Salvador in December 2018 for institutions from El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua. ITC then delivered the second workshop in February 2019 in Panama for institutions from Costa Rica, Honduras and Panama. The content focused on market research and e-commerce strategy to deepen the analysis of online market potential and the selection of key export products and markets.
The participating institutions show an outstanding enthusiasm in their commitment to train the companies in their country. This task requires the acquisition of technical information and its immediate implementation in an area that until now has not been a focus of the services being offered to businesses.
These trainings are therefore an excellent opportunity for institutions that seek to diversify their services portfolio and support the internationalization of small and medium sized enterprises through e-commerce.
The institutions in Central America that are being trained include: Cámara de Industrias de Costa Rica (CICR), Organismo Promotor de Exportaciones e Inversiones de El Salvador (PROESA), the Asociación de Exportadores de Guatemala (AGEXPORT), the Cámara de Comercio e Industria de Tegucigalpa in Honduras, Asociación de Productores y Exportadores de Nicaragua (APEN) and the Dirección de Comercio Electrónico del Ministerio de Comercio e Industrias de Panamá.
“The training will help me to know the different platforms better and to understand the customers that buy the most, how to sell my product and to establish the costs, as well as to know people´s preferences and how to reach them”, said one of the participants during the first workshop in El Salvador where the project was very well received.
Throughout a week of learning, the future local coaches had the opportunity to understand the importance of e-commerce, identify online channels and barriers to access them as well as the cost and revenue structure, and the pricing of products for the international markets, among other topics.
The workshops follow the Lean Startup methodology that focuses on moving from a simple idea to implementing and improving it via continuous feedback. In this case, the selection of the correct channel is continuously tested against research of customer needs in order to create a valuable offering to international clients. In addition to theoretical explanations, the workshops include practical activities and the use of online tools for better learning experiences.
ITC will deliver the next workshops until mid-2020 covering topics such as the creation of quality digital content for e-commerce, the process and administration of sales in online marketplaces and the characteristics of electronic and logistic transactions in this context.
After each workshop, the coaches will train the women-led businesses and advise them individually to support them in the export of their products through online platforms.
As such, the objective is to enable women-led businesses in the handicraft sector to develop a long-term strategy for selling their products in international markets through digital channels.