Small business owner excited about ‘Guyana Shop’ at CJIA

Small business owner Abigale John is ‘head over heels’ about the establishment of the Guyana Shop at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA). The young entrepreneur is the owner of GT Wine, one of the best local products in the country.

Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce, Oneidge Walrond, M.P, announced the establishment of the shop during a ministerial outreach held in Buxton, East Coast Demerara on Monday.

Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce, Oneidge Walrond

The brainchild of His Excellency, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali, the initiative will provide regional and international exposure to small businesses. It is also part of government’s commitment to providing a friendly environment for business expansion.

GT wine, which has been in existence for about five years, is available in pineapple, jamoon, antidesma and the consumers’ favourite, strokus.

GT Wines represented Guyana recently at the barbados’ Agro-Fest 2022, and received an overwhelming response from consumers.

“That is a beautiful initiative and you see, we need to know these things because as a business owner I get frustrated, I am trying to get there and I am not getting there. So, with the knowledge of oh, this is in plans, this is in the pipeline, that is good information to have so we can plan for the future now. It is just the timeframe now that we will have to know to take it to the next step,” the young woman stated.

Abigale John giving a sample of her wine at the Agri-Investment Forum and Expo

Speaking about the significance of the initiative, John said, “the product is already in the Guyana Shop, but not everyone will want to come to Buxton or our location in Kitty, but the average man that going back and wants to take a gift home to wherever they come from, oh this wine is from Guyana? I am going to take this.”

John believes that the establishment of the Guyana Shop will also create job opportunities. In her case, she noted that it will provide job opportunities for people within the Buxton community and further afield.

“Once we overcome that hurdle, the next hurdle is meeting supply. Once you are going to start stepping out and meeting regional markets, this will create employment basically for persons in Buxton and out of Buxton because we will need persons to supply antidesma, we will need another group of farmers to supply jamoon. So, it is a holistic approach, it is not just focusing on me. So, I am looking forward to the next positive step from this outreach,” the optimistic small business owner stated.

Minister Walrond, during the Buxton outreach, stated, “at the airport, when it is completed, we will have a place for Guyanese- owned businesses, like how we did the expo at the oil and gas. We are going to have a similar arrangement. All Guyanese products will have a place to be there to be displayed at the airport permanently, selling all of your stuff; craft, wine everything.” Since taking office, government has invested heavily in the development of small businesses. This includes the training and distributing of grants and loans to start or expand their small business. Some $300 million was allocated in budget 2022, for the programme.