Local model launches Caribbean digital market place


Local model and now Managing Director of the Caribbean Marketplace (CARIKET), Ayana Whitehead-Smith has created an online platform that centralizes every business within the Caribbean region.

The website and company was first launched in April 2018 and also provides a place for craftsmen, freelancers, employers, hotels and restaurant to advertise their services, so when travelling in the Caribbean region and you need to find a place or business, CARIKET is the place visit.

CARIKET was launched in Saint Lucia in March this year and was officially established in Guyana, Wednesday at the New Airport Bar in Ogle, East Coast Demerara.

She is slated to launch next in Trinidad and Tobago.

The 24-year-old Managing Director told News Room she had the opportunity to travel and have developed a sense of appreciation for the Caribbean region.

Whitehead-Smith is a psychology major student at the University of the West Indies and competed in the Miss Guyana Universe pageant in 2016.

“The wider world has places, you know Europe, Americas…they have economic opportunity and it never settled with me or made sense that the Caribbean which is just bursting with colourful experiences is not matched with an equally vibrant economic, like you know economy and that is something that I want to change,” the Managing Director said.

The website is an online directory that is meant for advertising, buying and selling, marketing for persons to put their businesses out there for the entire region and further, internationally.

Employers can post job vacancies and hotels and restaurants can advertise their services, reservations are also done on the website.

“CARIKET is at its core, a platform that is to empower entrepreneur, freelancers and small business owners,” the Managing Director said.

The focus will be on the English speaking countries for now but however, it’s open to everyone from Panama to Suriname.

White-Head said, “This is for Patricia in St. Lucia who maybe makes bags and Stephen in St. Kitts who makes an amazing sauce and Suzette right here in Guyana who has the most beautiful little getaway in Linden.”

The Managing Director said it’s a challenge getting small businesses to understand the scope of what the platform can do for them.

She said, “One of the greatest things is that it puts any small business owner on equal footing with the largest business in the world.”

When Guyana is able to provide adequate internet services countrywide, the Managing Director said CARIKET will be right behind with its services.

“I really want people to understand that this is ours, it’s for the consumers and it is for any person that has been brave enough to start their own business, it’s our Caribbean, it’s our market and I really think that people need to start to think about their place in building our economy,” Whitehead-Smith said.

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