Meals to fit your busy lifestyle: Braf’s Manufacturing

Small Business Focus:

DPI, Guyana, Friday, June 21, 2019.

With the pace of today’s work schedule, it is often difficult to grab a healthy breakfast or lunch before dashing out through the door. However, one local enterprising entrepreneur Lawrence Braithwaite has the solution with his line easy-to-use products such as instant porridge and fish cake mix.

Braithwaite is the owner of Braf’s Manufacturing a small agro-processing business that produces several of these quick meal solutions. Check any of the counters of supermarkets such as N&S Mattai’s and Bounty and you will be sure to find theses practical products displayed for sale with the label “Braf’s Manufacturing”.

The agro-processor operates his business from his home in East Ruimveldt, where he is helped by an assistant Rudo Bess, together they source raw materials then process and sell their products to customers either wholesale or retail.

One of the products he came up with is the instant porridge mix which is very special to him. “It’s similar to something we used to have long ago called Cerex. My instant mix is something that you can use easily if you are late. All you have to do is add warm or hot water whichever you prefer over the mix. There are three types wheat, oats and milk,” Braithwaite told the Department of Public Information.

The resourceful entrepreneur also has ideas about other products he would like to manufacture in the future “I have some product ideas in my head right now that I want to try. For example, I am thinking about producing a breakfast flake(cereal) with plantain and rice and then I want to make a vegetable cube.”

Braithwaite remarked that while he was not surprised at how well his business was doing; his success amazes most people because he is visually impaired. He noted that persons are often astonished when they see his booth at tradeshows.  “Well at those shows I would use the word ‘wow’! We amaze the patrons because you know they are stunned to know someone who doesn’t have sight can make these things. And the sales at the market, I cannot really complain about.”

The businessman related that he was not born blind and had his sight until a few years ago when due to a genetic factor he lost his sight. Prior to this he was employed as a construction worker, however, after losing his sight Braithwaite ventured into rearing chickens but there were challenges, he recalled.

“Because of the loss of sight, I suffered from a lot of theft; so, I stopped that venture and started selling dried/salted fish. Then it was the same thing. So, I decided that I would have to come up with a product that people wouldn’t steal. That’s how I began drying and grinding thyme for sale. Then I had the bright idea to dry plantain to produce plantain flour. Then I almost got discouraged because when I went to the market, I bought two hundred pounds, I put it in a cart and the man disappeared.”

However, Braithwaite did not despair and forged ahead with his quest. “In any venture, you must expect to some tragedy, but don’t ever give up because once you set your mind on a goal, go for it, because if you are determined you can score the goal,” he said.

Describing himself as a person who does not like to sit down but is always coming up with new ideas that would not only benefit himself but for others as well. “Many times I would wake up like two o’clock in the morning and then I would start thinking about how to make something and then I would try to figure out the shelf life because that is very important – what has a good shelf life? Sometimes I might google it on the computer check the shelf life of some of those things then put them together then come up with the actual product.”

For the future, Braithwaite is planning to open a factory that will also employ visually impaired persons like himself.

The innovative agro-processor who has been a fixture at several local trade shows has been given the opportunity to attend another show in Antigua in July. He is, however, seeking sponsorship for a plane ticket to take his assistant with him. “At the moment myself and coworker are trying to get a sponsor for at least one ticket and I can do the rest. It’s costly for me to get both tickets then to pay for shipping and making the products, so receiving help with the cost for the ticket would be a huge help. I’m sure that we can win some those buyers out there in Antigua.”

Braf’s Manufacturing is located at 648 Trench Road East Ruimveldt Georgetown and Lawrence Braithwaite can be contacted on telephone numbers 592-651-1314 or 592 223-6123.

Images Giovani Gajie