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Charlotte Amalie
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@Work: BIZVI.COM

Nov 27, 2005 – Syed Gilani, the director for the Caribbean Region of BIZVI.com, said Friday this was the perfect time to start BIZVI here. He launched the business management system only three weeks ago, and it has 35 customers from St. Thomas and St. Croix already signed up, Gilani sad.
He said the vendors using the service are not only brick and mortar shop owners on the islands but also micro sellers who have been managing their businesses from their homes.
He wrote in an e-mail earlier last week, "The Virgin Islands were strongly hit by the post 9/11 depression which shook the global tourist-based economies. That was followed by the loss of cruise ships and tourists on St. Croix which gave a final blow to the big island's small- and micro-business structure."
He added that as economic woes continued to rise, especially on St. Croix, a new system was needed – "a system was required that could help sellers in reducing their operating costs and increasing their profit margins."
He said that he and some colleagues did considerable research, then designed BIZVI, a business management system that provides the Virgin Islands with "its first and most powerful online marketplace."
He describes BIZVI as "A place from where sellers can sell their products, and manage their complete business from their online store management system."
The technical team of BIZVI is situated at international locations and provides 24-hour, seven-days-a-week technical support to the buyers and sellers. However, marketing, customer support, and general management are located in the Virgin Islands.
Gilani, who is also president of Trans-Atlantic Business Solutions for North America and the Caribbean, spearheaded BIZVI's operations in the territory. Aasma Shafqat, director of marketing and St. Croix resident, takes care of BIZVI's marketing. The marketing office is located upstairs in the Caravelle Arcade and houses the five-member marketing team.
Gilani, who has lived for five years on St. Croix, said that business is steadily growing and that the buying on the site is increasing. However, he added, while talking in the Christiansted office, "We are still not up to our satisfaction level, as we want to be seen as the people's first stop for all their shopping. I think that as people get more educated about BIZVI and feel more comfortable about it, they will buy more from BIZVI vendors."
He gives credit to professors and management staff at the University of the Virgin Islands for helping him get the project off the ground.
Gilani said the service not only helps the business people, but consumers too. He said it offers "enormous savings power to the islands' buyers. BIZVI users can compare and rate products, write reviews on any product, add products to their wish list or simply refer them to their family and friends. "
He hopes to see the business grow throughout the Caribbean and the mainland, but adds it will be a slow, step-by-step process that will demand a high interest from the local communities and businesses.
He plans to generate some of that interest through "exceptional service."
Visit the Web site at (See "www.BIZVI.COM").

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