Boosting Peruvian textile and clothing exports to Europe is the aim of a marketing study tour bringing a group of 12 Peruvian women entrepreneurs in the sector to Amsterdam and Paris for meetings with fashion industry buyers this week.
Organized by the Geneva-based International Trade Centre (ITC), the visit is a key element of an 18- month project designed to build the capacity of women owned businesses in Peru to break into the European market. Following several months of market development and study sessions in Peru the visit will build a better understanding of the market for products made from natural fibres such as alpaca, wool and organic cotton.
The project is primarily sponsored by the Government of Spain as part of its support to the Latin America and Caribbean region, and Peru in particular. It was developed during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum hosted by Peru in 2008 and is part of the forums initiative to facilitate economic growth, cooperation, trade and investment, as well as to foster womenвЂ™s entrepreneurship in the APEC region.
The project also has support from the United States and is being implemented by ITC in partnership with PromPeru - the commission for the promotion of Peruvian exports and tourism. The textiles and clothing sectors are of vital importance to several countries in the region, offering opportunities for boosting employment and reducing poverty.
ITC Executive Director Patricia R. Francis held a welcoming video-conference from Geneva with the participants last week. She commented: вЂњIt is essential to give women the tools to succeed in business and trade. I have been particularly impressed by the commitment of these businesswomen, who have contributed to the cost of the study tour, and I greatly appreciate SpainвЂ™s generous support for the project.вЂќ
The visit to Amsterdam and Paris includes a seminar covering subjects such as getting the best out of fashion fairs, buying and retailing high-end fashion products, the luxury boutique niche market in Europe, and practical details on doing business.
It also includes individual coaching meetings with buyers to improve the womenвЂ™s understanding of the requirements of design, quality, standards, trends and methods of doing business. During the next stage of the project, the women will take part in a high-fashion fair early next year and hold marketing and sales meetings with potential buyers.
The project aims to support the businesswomen in developing products suited to target markets and drawing up business and marketing plans and strategies. It is aligned with ITCвЂ™s Women and Trade Programme, which aims to empower women to succeed in business and to build awareness for the need to change the business environment, which at present is rarely geared to supporting them.
ITC, a joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations, has a mandate to promote export-led growth in developing countries and is focused on delivering the Aid for Trade agenda as a means of reducing poverty, with a particular focus on the private sector. Bringing producers in developing countries into contact with potential importers is a crucial activity for the agency.
Ms. Francis said: вЂњThe export success of small and medium-sized enterprises, particularly those run by women, can make an important contribution to countriesвЂ™ achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. Often women have plenty of enthusiasm and creativity, but they need capacity development, support and information to make the most of what they have to break into international markets. That is what this project is all aboutвЂќ.