With just under a month to go before the Crop Over highlight of Grand Kadooment, cash-strapped Barbadians are being offered a financial lifeline by Republic Bank. It is offering a Crop Over Loan of $5,000 or more to individuals and organisations. The bank says the loan can be used either by young entrepreneurs wanting to set up a festival-related business or by revellers to finance their feteing and costume purchases.
Bank general manager Sharon Zephirin pointed out that Crop Over offers scope for businesses engaged in food and drink, cosmetics, costume manufacture, music-related businesses, arts, crafts and photography.
The bank is not alone in viewing Crop Over as a business opportunity that should be promoted more vigorously. Wayne Webster, manager of administration at the National Cultural Foundation (NCF), was also speaking the language of business and finance at the Crop Over launch event in Independence Square. Webster spoke of the need to “retool and refocus” in order to gain “competitive advantage” and maintain “brand loyalty”.
A key part of NCF’s strategy is attracting millennials, who are seen as less tied to a particular festival than older generations. Webster stressed: “They are seen as carnival hoppers, so their brand loyalty of the future is paramount.”
Twenty-three bands will be parading down Mighty Grynner Highway for Grand Kadooment on 5 August, but NCF wants to attract more participants in costume and to position Barbados during Crop Over as an all-inclusive destination.