Small businesses thrive through pandemic

– 25 awarded for their outstanding work over the last year

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced businesses, especially micro and small businesses, to make significant changes during 2020. In compliance with the preventive measures, many were compelled to restrict operations, resulting in significantly reduced business. 

Nevertheless, small enterprises demonstrated remarkable determination and effort to sustain themselves, and by extension, the small business sector. 

The Small Business Bureau Friday evening recognised 25 small and micro businesses and individuals at its 10th Anniversary Awards Celebration under the theme “Resilience, Innovation and Ingenuity.”

The awards were in recognition of their outstanding contributions over the last year.

The Department of Public Information spoke to several awardees about how they thrived and maintained their businesses.

Kelshine Griffith, from Shine’s Sweet Potato Cake Mix, was awarded the Young Business Professional of the Year award. Her product is made from sweet potato flour. 

When asked how she managed during the pandemic, Ms. Griffith said, “It was very tough because I was not prepared for it; being a young entrepreneur is not easy. Basically, I was depending on the Guyana School of Agriculture, but they were forced to close, which actually forced me back into the working system, but I am still juggling the business on a small scale.”

Kelshine Griffith from Shine’s Sweet Potato Cake Mix

The Great Tea Company is owned and operated by Carlton Washington. Describing his business, Mr. Washington said tea is now globally the most popular beverage after water. The growing popularity of teas comes from the various health benefits they provide.

He noted that the Great Tea Company specialises in tea blending and is the pioneer of loose-leaf tea in Guyana mixed with local fruits such as pineapples and mangoes.

Mr. Washington said the last year was challenging but not without benefit.

“To be honest, we have learnt a lot from the pandemic. In a nutshell, with the theme, resilience, we know that we have to work extra hard and focus on our strong points. One of the things we focused on during the pandemic is focusing on the ingredients we have in terms of building our immunity for our clients/ customers. Obviously, building our immunity is very important, especially during the pandemic, and it has worked well because people realise how important it is to focus on their health.” 

Carlton Washington, owner of The Great Tea Company

Agro-processor Annie Bristol copped the Small Manufacturer Award for Excellence. Ms. Bristol produces pepper sauces, green seasoning, mauby drinks, among other items. She attributes her success to her hard work and dedication with support from her family.

The businesswoman said the year was a tough one, but determination was needed to face such a challenge.

“I go out there and promote my business with a passion and a vision. So, I tell myself that this is what I want, this is my dream, and I always go towards my dreams, my customer. With all the challenges and COVID-19 came, and we still had to face the challenge, and I go out there, and if you want to have a business, you must have a passion for it.”

Annie Bristol, Annie Products

Rakers Grow More Plant Shop received the award for the Most Inspirational Entrepreneur Award. The business is owned and operated by Phulmattie Budhram and her husband. A shade house is part of their operation.

Mrs. Budhram said they hand out plants and hosts secondary school and university students when they have assignments. They also bud and graft plants, fruits and vegetables. 

“We encourage people to grow more and plant more because you feel good. Given the pandemic, citrus is big, so I want to encourage persons to plant citrus. You can plant one if you can’t plant all, and in two years at the latest, it will start to bear. It is nice when you can go into your backyard and pick something that you have grown.”

Phulmattie Budhram owner of Rakers Grow More Plant Shop

The Emerging Business Achievement Award went to Bisham Ramnauth, who owns B and R Mini Lumber Yard. This category recognises a start-up company that has attained outstanding business achievement with fewer than 25 employees and one to three years of full-time operation.

Meanwhile, Roopnarine and Nandarine Sukhdeo from R and N Enterprise received the Most Improved Business Award.

The All-Star Marketer of the Year category recognises a business with a marketing strategy that engages and captivates customers regularly. The recipient, Athalyah Yisrael from Outliners Zone, would have demonstrated continued business growth and developed and promoted new products.  

The Kidpreneur Award for the year went to 12-year-old Orion Hope of Orion’s Elemonator Stand. 

The Green Business Award went to Aavon George, who owns and operates Lexic Technology. 

The Most Innovative Business Award went to Tiffany Durant of Footprint Homes.

In the category Techno Business of the Year, Julian Cadogan of Caliper Drones received that award.

The Best Indigenous Community Business Award went to Miranda Bernard of Miranda’s Indigenous Crafts. 

The Community Service Award went to Junette Stuart from Junshazyna’s Fashion, while the Triumph Over Adversity Award went to Everton De Putron of Evo’s Hangout Bar. He would have overcome significant business and personal difficulties to succeed.

The Lockdown Leader Award went to Anika Abel of Nick’s Phonics Centre, while the Business Chameleon Award went to Blue Mountain Capital Inc., owned by Travez Daly. This category recognises businesses that had to adapt as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.  

The Small Business of the Year Award went to Tamika Henry from Curl Fete.

The Service Excellence of the Year Awardrecognises the business, which has a committed focus on customer service excellence through service delivery, promotion and development. Fendell Etwaroo of One Cart received that award. 

The SME of Future Award (Business with exceptional positioning for finances and technology) went to Dwayne and Melissa Younge of Dunae Trading Company.

The Networking Master Award went to Tazmein Coates of Lionel’s Coconut Oil.

Monica Allicock of Monica Allicock’s Arts and Crafts copped the Small Business Bureau Creatives Award, while the Small Business Bureau Honours Award went to Sandra Craig from SS Natural Fruits Flavour BBQ Sauces.

Leisa Gibson from Leisa’s Salon and Supplies was awarded the Small Business Bureau Longstanding Entrepreneur Award, while Lyndel Danzie-Black, the CEO of Cerulean Inc., was awarded the Small Business Special Award for a stakeholder/stakeholder group.

The Small Business Employee of the Year Award went to Rushell Underwood, Business Advisor. 

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