Stymied by the pandemic, UncappeD marketplace brings local businesses back to life

Many enthusiastic Guyanese turned out in their numbers at the National Stadium Saturday to support local agro-processing businesses for the launch of UncappeD Marketplace, a local agro-processors exhibition, market and food festival, which was on hold for some two years.

Wooden Words, Enchanted Gardens Floral, MagElegance and Wild Rupununi were just a few of the local businesses on exhibition. The variety of products ranged from candles, ornaments, jewellery, soaps, seasonings, spices, and dried and fresh fruits.

Marketing manager at Barama Company, Daniel Jaisingh was impressed at how far the agro-processing industry has come. He said “though our focus is on oil, Guyana has much to offer in the agro-processing industry, as well. Our products are as unique and diverse as our people.”

Geography student, Shannon Persaud commended the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association (GMSA) for putting together the first UncappeD since the pandemic.

“It is really great to see how well the event was put together. I know a lot of businesses are grateful for the opportunity. I’m also happy to see a lot of young people becoming involved in the agro industry.”

Young entrepreneur, 19-year-old Alana Chung said the event has been beneficial to her in terms of networking and building clientele. She also explained how her business was started.

 “I started making candles as a gift for people. And then I was like, it’s very therapeutic. The house always smells good, and it relieves my stress at the end of the day. So, I started on my business I think February and I’ve been just working since. This is my first UncappeD experience and so far, it has been really good.”

Many of the businesses on show were also family oriented. Marketing manager of Roy’s Quality Spices, Govinda Singh shared his sentiments.

 “Our products, mainly our garam masala, the achar masala or halwa masala have been recipes passed on from generations actually. Our garam masala mix is actually my grandma’s recipe, which she would have inherited from her mother.”

GMSA’s Vice president, Mr. Ramsay Ali recalled why Uncapped was initiated and commended businesses on their hard work and growth.

“Uncapped was started by the GMSA to support small agro-processors of Guyana. This idea was conceived about five years ago and our first event was at the Sophia Exhibition Centre. Then we had a hiatus of two years because of COVID and we’re back here today. We have about 107 small businesses exhibiting today, and what you can see over the last two years or so, they have not been idle, there’s been improvement in packaging and new products added to their businesses. Covid would have hurt their business, so GMSA decided to help and that’s why we decided to host another UncappeD.”

Mr. Ali said he is grateful for the turnout of the local businesses and is looking forward for greater support from Guyanese when it comes to supporting local businesses.

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