Eighty small businesses at the weekend participated in the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association’s (GMSA) Uncapped marketplace exhibition.
The exhibitors from various regions braved the rains to set up their booths at the Guyana National Stadium, Providence, East Bank Demerara (EBD) where they showcased unique products which were all made in Guyana.
From jewellery to herbal treatments, neatly packaged food items and ornaments, the business owners were able to network with other businesspersons and connect with potential clients.
The News Room spoke with several of the exhibitors who explained the idea behind their products.
Gwendolyn Prince-Chappelle of Tapakuma, Region Two makes cassava biscuits which are garlic or spicy flavoured. She noted that while the Indigenous people use the Cassava to make various products, it is rarely packaged and sold.
She explained that the product is made by a women’s group in the area with support from the Women’s Agro-processors Development Network (WADN).
“We made this with bitter cassava, it is grated, extract the juice and put it over the heat to draw out the moisture. Then we add our ingredients, bake it on a pan and dry it in the solar dryer,” the woman explained.
Also, a part of the women’s group is Xuxa Lowe of New Haven, Siriki Sands, Pomeroon. Lowe’s group makes various types of local wines and juices.
She explained that the Sorrel, Cherry and Acai Berry are used to make the wines.
“The response to the product has been really good,” she told the News Room.
One of the other agro-processors was Marcelle Allen, the owner of Check Me hair who makes her own products for natural hair.
Located on Robb Street, between Wellington and Camp Streets, Allen makes products which addresses various hair issues.
“The Neem oil generally helps with hair fall or hair thinning, the all-natural hair treatment generally helps with any scalp issues you may have –dry itchy scalp, fungus of the scalp, alopecia, hair thinning, growth, etc.” the proprietor explained.
Allen said she returned to Guyana five years ago and decided to get into the hair product line since there was a need for natural products. The ingredients are mostly found in Guyana.
Another exhibitor was Allison Gilead, a resident of New Amsterdam, Berbice who spends her time making soaps and candles from beeswax.
Gilead is the co-owner of Allison’s hair and skincare products which she manages with her husband who is a bee-keeper.
“We rear our own bees at Ithaca,” she noted. From the beeswax, the company makes lip balms, candles, hair food and soaps. The honey is also harvested and used to make honey roasted nuts or sold in jars.
The News Room also caught up with Irene Bacchus-Holder, the owner of Amazon Authentics. Bacchus-Holder makes jewelry and other decorative items using the various species of wood found in Guyana.
The entrepreneur said since participating in the various exhibitions, she has seen an increased demand for her products.
Living in Linden, she said this had made it easier for her to access materials.
“I operate using the loggers’ discards as well as cutters will bring me special pieces or instance I was able to source Wamara and marble wood from Kwakwani,” she noted.
GMSA’s Uncapped marketplace is held at different locations twice per year. It aims to provide an avenue for local agro-processors to market their products.