In its mission to help Lebanese agri-food innovators thrive, the QOOT Cluster seeks to create the ideal environment for agri-food businesses to strengthen their expertise, fuel their ideas, build fruitful partnerships, and establish themselves in new markets.
In a recent virtual workshop titled “Export Readiness for SMEs in the Agri-Food Sector”, QOOT hosted Hill Skaff – Business and Food Development Specialist, who presented her tips on the 2021 survival kit for export readiness for agri-food companies.
2021 Survival Kit top Tips
- Conduct market research: Understanding market demand and requirements is key to identify the right product to sell. Know your market: stability, trends, competition, regulations, trade barriers and others.
- Produce what you can sell: Always start with the market demand, focus on market trends and needs, production capacity, product shelf life, packaging, competitors and reinforce your unique point to stand out against the competition.
- Build confidence with the customer: In order to effectively market a product, it is important that the customer have confidence in the company producing the product. It is important to provide background information on the company owners, product, and food safety systems, ensure management commitment and transparency.
- Use a suitable promotional tool: Be present on social media and define your brand purpose, it is what connects it to the customer. Know what e-commerce platform to be on.
- Trade Show Essentials: Identify the right show to catch the right customer, prepare in advance by promoting your presence, train your team, and make a list of the companies you want to see. It’s crucial to do study tours in the market and to evaluate your product vs. competitors, attend social gatherings to increase your social network. Ensure proper follow up post trade show.
- Export Key requirements: Exporting requires planning and preparation, securing deals might take up to 1 year. Ensure you have the right product, appropriate package, required quality/safety certifications, unique selling point and most importantly financial capability to negotiate offers and payment terms.
Following the workshop, five QOOT Cluster members received a 1-1 clinic with Hill Skaff, obtaining from the consultant recommendations and advices to apply in their companies.
About the Trainer
Hill Skaff is a Food Production and Business Development Professional with more than 15 years of experience in long-term positions and in short-term consultancies. Her experience includes six years of progressive leadership in project development, strengthening the agriculture and agro-processing sectors and supporting Lebanese products to become more competitive in both domestic and international markets. In addition, she’s a short-term consultant, both inside and outside Lebanon, including Egypt, Tunisia, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan, for programs funded by USAID, UNDP, and private sectors. Mrs. Semaan is specialized in access to markets (local and export), market strategies, and product development.