“Made-in-Belize Expo” Showcases Local Entrepreneurs and MSMEs in Belmopan
Entrepreneurs from across the country gathered in Belmopan on Saturday to showcase their products at the “Made-in-Belize Expo”. The event was organized by the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry and aimed to support Belize’s blossoming micro, small, and medium enterprises MSMEs. In Belize, MSMEs account for seventy percent of national employment and are said to be the backbone of the economy. During the opening ceremony, the Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Investment and the Chairwoman of BELTRAIDE, Narda Garcia, explained the importance of supporting Belize’s entrepreneurs.
Narda Garcia, CEO, Ministry of Investment: “In recent years there has been a collective call from Belizeans to buy locally as MSME’s play a critical role in the strengthening of communities, increasing economic prosperity and reducing the social ills of our society with the positive and productive use of our energy especially in our youth. In Belize MSME’s are responsible for over 70% of total employment and approximately 45% of our country’s gross domestic product. However MSME’s encounter many challenges that can derail their long-term sustainability and the years 20-22 made it even more challenging with the COVID-19 pandemic. Of course challenges can be turned into opportunities and therefore we can see that some pivoted as the pandemic created its own demands. Unfortunately, not many were able to pivot as that would have required greater access to finance. I say this without bias the government under the leadership of the Honorable John Briceno is committed to building back better and sustainable through MSME’s as engines of growth. To assist our small businesses the office of the Prime Minister through BELTRAIDE continues to develop innovative programs and conduct capacity building exercises with our MSME’s in areas such as leadership, financial management, business continuity, risk management, digital marketing, finance, business modeling and access to capital during a few.”
President of the BCCI, Marcelo Blake, also weighed in on the positive impact of supporting Belize’s entrepreneurs and spoke about the expo’s tremendous growth over the years.
Marcelo Blake, President, BCCI: “Since its launch the Made in Belize has grown from 50 participating businesses in 2018 to triple that number in 2023. Not even a decade has passed but looking at all the spectacular developments that have taken place one might think it had been a quarter of a century. It exemplifies our work to build a better world and a better future. A warm welcome for this extraordinary accomplishment for all of us. The Made in Belize Trade Show is where we celebrate the brightest and the best entrepreneurs from all over Belize. As entrepreneurs, we are always looking for ways to improve ourselves, to be better than we were yesterday. As Reid Hoffman the co-founder of LinkedIn once said “the fastest way to change yourself is to hang out with people who are already the way you want to be.” We are all here today because we want to be around people who are already the way we want to be, the individuals that hold steadfast to the ingenuity and creativity of small local businesses but we cannot do this alone. We want to learn from them, be inspired by them and be energized by them. We want to be around people who have the same entrepreneurial spirit, who have that passion, that drive to succeed and who are willing to take risks and pursue their dreams. We are here today to celebrate you, to celebrate your achievements, your successes, and your determination to make a difference in the world. We are here to inspire you, to ensure encourage you, and to be a part of your journey.”
More than 100 booths were present at this year’s Made in Belize Expo.