What is the Global Trade Project?
Imagine a world in which everybody could have a fair chance to become a global player. Where your success is only dependent upon talent and commitment. Imagine that a talented artist in Guatemala, making some special handicraft, could get just as much attention as a talented artist in Holland and even share the same customers.
Now is the time for the next step in the world of fair trade. The tools have been available for a long time now: Internet is widely spread across the globe and available to an increasing group of people. In theory every handy entrepreneur in a poor country could start their own Internet shop and sell their own typical handicrafts everywhere in the world. Unfortunately it doesn’t work like that. There are numeral problems for even the most daring talented entrepreneur. Firstly, they lack the resources and tools to show their work (camera’s, computers, etc.). Secondly, they lack the knowledge to sell their products on-line and don’t know, or have access to, the right channels. Thirdly, even if they set up such a business, they lack the trust of potential customers in richer countries.
For all these challenges there is one solution: the western traveller. The people that constantly and at all times have a camera at their disposal and the people that live in a world where everything walks, talks and breaths in a digital world. The knowledge of the web (including social media), combined with the knowledge of market-potential makes the western traveller the perfect salesperson for local talent in poorer countries. With their own network from their home-countries they can even give the artist a head start with potential buyers.
‘Trust‘ is the key word when talking about trade. When one claims that the trade is fair (i.e. no child labour, no extortions, no slavery, a fair price), that person even has a more challenging task to convince the customer. The only way to achieve this is to actually show the artists at work while they make their product. In other words: customers on the other side of the world have to be able to SEE what they’re buying and whom they are buying it from. Thus, travellers will have to make a video for the world to see.
This coming year I have committed myself to research the possibilities of this concept. What are the challenges that a traveller might encounter? What are the risks? Can a traveller set up fair trade on a very low scale and in a very direct way across the world?
Well, we will see. In any case: there is an awful lot of talent waiting to be discovered out there. Right here, you will be part of its discovery.
Welcome to the Global Trade Project!