With just over a month left before the inaugural Guyana Trade and Investment Exhibition (GUYTIE) is launched at the Guyana Marriott Hotel, the organizers have told the Stabroek Business that they are accelerating its marketing initiative to ensure that it secures optimum participation from both the local manufacturing sector as well as overseas buyers.
With the GUYTIE Secretariat having declared that its primary focus is to expand exports and attract investments, the acid test of the success of GUYTIE will repose, first, in the level of interest which the event will attract amongst regional, hemispheric and international business houses, as well as the extent of the participation in the event of local enterprises sufficiently confident that they can attract export interests.
While the organizers of GUYTIE have indicated their intention to test the waters of the international market by stating in their marketing material that one of the objectives of the event is “to prepare and promote export-ready firms to export markets” they have added two additional objectives that have opened the door for participation by other local companies that are yet to meet the ‘export-ready’ standard. The organizers say that GUYTIE also aims to promote packaged local investment opportunities for both foreign direct as well as local investment and to highlight Guyana as a destination for business.
Keen, it seems, to make an impression, the joint public-private sector initiative have pressed its heavy hitters in the private sector as well as key state agencies into service to help burnish the image of GUYTIE. Its list of sponsors include Guyana’s two blue riband alcohol manufacturers, Banks DIH Ltd and Demerara Distillers as well as the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company (GTT) and the Trinidad and Tobago enterprise, Massy. The agencies represented on the steering committee include the Guyana Office for Investment, the Caribbean Export Development Agency, the Small Business Bureau, the Guyana Tourism Authority, the Private Sector Commission, the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association and the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Clearly seeking to surpass GuyExpo in public image as well as local and international participation the local organizers have pressed into service the Trinidad and Tobago event management firm SOUTHEX (Guyana, for all its experience with GuyExpo and other events continues to underperform in the area of event planning), reportedly one of the best of its kind in the region and which reportedly specializes in trade show and concert management. Earlier, this week, George Singh, a Director of SOUTHEX who is assigned to the National Exhibition Centre for the event told Stabroek Business that he believed that the ‘drawing card’ for Guyana as far as GUYTIE is concerned is the fact that the country’s oil find and the promise of development that derives therefrom had sent out positive signals to the international business community.
Singh told Stabroek Business that up to early this week around sixty booths had already been “sold” to entities that have confirmed their participation though information is still not available as to the amount of large (US$5,000), medium (US$1200) and small (US$500) booths that had been sold. Singh told Stabroek Business, however, that it was likely that all of the booths would be sold prior to the opening of the event.
On Tuesday officials of the Guyana Manufacturing & Services Association (GMSA) were keen to play down concerns raised by this newspaper regarding the limited likelihood that a great many local businesses will meet the qualifying standards including product quality and packaging and labeling to be labeled “export ready.” One official told Stabroek Business, first, that while it was likely the product quantities and other considerations may negatively affect local products’ access to major international markets there were possibilities that might emerge from partnerships between smaller firms from the Caribbean expected here for GUYTIE and local manufacturers that would address issues like production, packaging and labeling in order to render those products export-ready.
Singh, meanwhile, told Stabroek Business that immediate export-readiness apart, GUYTIE could begin to build bridges between local manufacturers and foreign firms through networking and that the organizers were seeking to structure the event in a manner that created opportunities from dialogue “on the floor” during the course of the four-day event.
GUYTIE is being marketed as an attempt to create a more convivial environment than had been provided by GuyExpo to enable constructive engagements between buyers and sellers in order to grow both local and international markets.