Women in Business Expo a unique platform for small businesses

DPI, GUYANA, Sunday, March 11, 2018

The Women in Business Expo has served as launching pad for new businesses and an opportunity for others to expand their reach.

One such company that officially launched their business is The Balance – a waiter services company recently founded by Mariah Barker and Donella Long.

Barker and Long worked as professional waiters before starting their own business. Long said The Balance aims to improve waiting services in Guyana by providing professional waiters for any event.

“We noticed that every time you go to work, they don’t have trays, they don’t have necessary things that are supposed to be there. We need standards. So, we train our staff, [they] are one of our most important resource,” Long explained.

The Balance an online business  can be found on the social media platforms Facebook and Instagram. Barker noted the company chose the Women in Business Expo because it provided the opportunity “to market our company better.”

The third annual Women in Business Expo is being hosted by the Sonia Noel Foundation for Creative Arts and Women’s Association for Sustainable Development at the Pegasus Hotel, Kingston from March 10-11.

The annual event is a celebration of women in business and is part of International Women’s Day observations. This year, some 60 businesses owned or operated by women participated in the exposition.

Kurl Robertson and her daughter Keeta Robertson were also first-time exhibitors seeking to expand their market reach. Kurl recycles newspapers into impressive household decorations while Keeta is an artist and designer.

The duo began their businesses, KP Artistry Unleashed and Ras Art, about a year ago, operating out of their home.  “We want the public to see what we are doing and at the same time I want to empower young ladies and at the same time be providing a job opportunity,” Kurl said.

Keeta, who is currently pursuing art studies at the University of Guyana is looking for exposure “and to create business relationships on the global scale”.

Growing businesses

The Women in Business Expo is more than an exhibition. Founder, Sonia Noel explained that leading up to the exposition, many of the exhibitors were exposed to leadership, dress for success, technology and business, branding and merchandising seminars.

“It’s not about just having the expo for two days … we have to have them ready from the insides and I have seen so much growth, tremendous growth in all these women,” Noel said.

Veronica Glen, a designer for some 30 years and a teacher of dressmaking for the last seven years, has attested to expanding not only her business but her management skills. According to Glen since participating in the Expo, she has expanded her business to include two locations and reached more students for the dressmaking course which she offers.

“This is my third year with women in business and I’ll keep coming … because of the publicity and all the information, we get … it helps you to become more aware of what to expect out there and what to say to your customers and how to develop the business. My business has developed because of Sonia,” Glen said.

Christine Profit has also been participating in the Women in Business Expo from its inception. “We have had such a good time collaborating with each other and finding strengths in one another and building as women in business for Guyana,” she said.

Profit is the founder and owner of The Scrubs Hub. The five-year-old business provides scrubs and lab coats for the medical profession as well as other utility-based garments. Profit is also a supplier of educational kits to improve mathematics and phonics skills in young children.

“The Ministry of Education, through I think it is NCERD (National Centre for Education Resource Development), is looking into our kits and we’ve recently supplied a good shipment to them,” Profit pointed out.

Representative of Bow Jay, Martina, said participating in the Expo over the last three years has provided a better understanding of marketing and promoting the business.  Bow Jay is a company specialising in custom made bowties and accessories.

“In a way it has tremendously benefited us, it has enabled us to think ahead, think further, how to expand, how to grow,” Martina said.

By: Tiffny Rhodius

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