Wednesday, July 15, 2009



by Ray Auxillou, July7 2009

I would like to say the following ideas may be totally wrong in context. I only have vague ideas based on watching the world go around for the past 72 years. I have no education in this field myself.
Belize currently, as far as I know; has only two, perhaps three, BRAND NAME, DISTRIBUTION, EXPORTING MARKETING BUSINESSES. These are GRACE KENNEDY (Belize ) Ltd., MARIE SHARP OF POMONA in the Stann Creek Valley and BIG H out here in Western Belize. I’m not sure if BIG H has grown enough to export? There is a newer small outfit in Ladyville by my nephew who is trying it, but do not think he has progressed further than the odd container load.
That said, there is a dearth of information in the local Belize media and one doubts that the Colleges are teaching this entrepreneurial opportunity, that relies on nothing but organization, a bit of capital and a lot of sweat equity to start. For the 5000 graduates trumpeted from higher education this year of 2009 in Belize, this is a wide open business entrepreneurial opportunity. All you need is some start up capital, enough to buy and fill and ship a few containers of goods, anywhere in the world and the business comprehension to know how to use BANK Letter of CREDIT systems. The rest is pure salesmanship, organizational skills and sweat equity. You get capital by selling shares in a start up company. Usually from family, friends and relatives.
You can start a business locally producing local products to sell on the local internal market and grow quickly, where you have to learn how to market offshore to other countries. BRAND NAME is all important in this process. It could certainly be done in bamboo made furniture for instance. Has been done in Belize made, mahogany doors and speed boats in the past. Marie Sharp is the major example today of such a story of establishing herself on the local market and then learning to brand name and start exporting. Getting paid is always the major problem with food products. Usually they are bought on 90 day terms. There are a lot of mafia types run scams that start buying from companies, and over a year or two build up their orders and pay promptly, until one day the $100,000 order becomes an emergency one million dollar order, at which time, they do not pay and let their foreign country importing company go bankrupt and disappear with your money.
That said, the opportunities are endless. I’m not sure if BIG H has got to this point yet, but certainly as a sometime repackager, they are doing something on the local market, which is but a stepping stone away from going international for exports.
Grace Kennedy ( Belize ) Ltd. are an example, as their parent company in Jamaica imports sardines from Chile, Coconut oil from Malaysia for example and sell their stuff under their BRAND NAME label all over the world to concentrations of the Caribbean disapora. We even buy the ( hic) product in Belize supposedly from Jamaica ( grin! ) What you are doing is buying the BRAND NAME, or in our Belize case, the market is so small, the bigger competitors do not want to bother with it, so you are the ONLY supplier of a product. I’m sure you could find oodles of Mexican products to BRAND NAME and export internationally. In this methodology, you do not produce in Belize, what you do is repackage, or re-label. You go to Alaska for instance, or communicate and order a few containers of SALMON which comes in standard cans and sizes. You send them your BRAND NAME label design and have your cans showing your company. Your cans are the same as USA or English, or Dutch cans of the same product from the same salmon cannery. Your label just identifies you as a different brand name supplier. You are in competition. I believe coconut oil comes through a distributor in Singapore and sardines comes from Chilean canneries. You could for instance do the same with tomato sauce from Spain, or condensed milk from Holland, using your own label, or rebuilt motor scooters from Taiwan, using your own brand name label. Remove the HONDA insignia and put BELIZE Mountain scooter, or some BRAND NAME. Bicycle wholesalers/jobbers do this all the time, as do ceiling fan companies. Sometimes in the case of ceiling fans from China, you modify the decorative part on the hub of the electric motor, or the blades, which is a screwed on decorative piece, to make your BRAND more observable.
For you 5000 graduates this year, think about the opportunities and if you have the smarts and stubbornness there is no reason why you cannot get rich on a Belizean BRAND NAME import/export business.