There is a Belizean Entrepreneur for that…

There is a Belizean Entrepreneur for that…

The first Belize Earth Day Pop-Up Market was quite the small business adventure. The ‘Creatively Green’ event was organized by the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) and made possible through the cooperation of various vendors, partners and sponsors. Walking under the tents and between the rows of tables, all beautifully stocked with unique local products, was like discovering a new secret about Belize. The secret is that, for every service or product need, there is a Belizean entrepreneur for that. Every business owner at the pop-up market had an inspiring story about their product. For example, Zero Belize Eco Packaging Solutions emerged out of Belize’s move to phase out single-use plastics. The young enterprisers were inspired to provide Belizeans with locally made, biodegradable paper bag options for a greener Belizean future. The incredible women of ecoFunk 501 unreservedly spoke of their alternative 100% cotton Period Underwear to help women and girls stay healthy. There were paintings, jewellery, wine, hand crafted décor, crochet tops and hats, sargassum hair cream, organic compost, cleaning solutions, and so many more. The products were fun, funny, fabulous, and overall just fantastic. Though they were all organic and handmade, the attention to packaging and presentation exuded eco-luxury. The event also included local food and drinks for sale and cushy lounge areas to hangout while various local artist entertained market dwellers. The day was an adventure under tents and among colourful Belizean businesses that have creatively merged environmental principles and natural resources.

Everything about Belize has real tourism market value. Don’t believe it?  Well, let’s consider the fact that most Belizeans love their pepper sauce. As a matter of fact, many of us sneak our mini bottles with us wherever we go, home or abroad, just in case we need a small dab on our food. There is no shame in Belizean’s pepper sauce game and while some might say it’s purely “kruffy” behaviour to pull out a bottle of sauce from one’s purse or pocket, most Belizeans accept it as nuanced. The entrepreneurs at Mama Rosa, produce homemade pepper sauce and they have ingeniously paired it with a reusable and washable pepper pouch. Any pepper sauce can be poured into the tiny soft pouch, with its easy to open cap, for any “Kruffy fabulous” dining needs. For those who do not know, “kruffy” is a local Belizean term that is used to playfully describe people, things, or behaviour that may be a bit impolite or indecent. Dozens of local businesses have similarly used other bits of local culture, along with natural resources, to create unique Belizean goods and services. These services and products help to improve our tourism sector. The leadership at the Ministry of Tourism and Diaspora Relations (MTDR), along with the Belize Tourism Board (BTB), strive to ensure that rest of the world knows the real value of Belize’s tourism product.

Belize’s commitment to sustainability reverberated from the podium at the United Nations (UN) Headquarters. Just this month, at the first ever UN General Assembly Sustainability Week, CEO of tourism, Nicole Solano, highlighted Belize’s pioneering efforts in Sustainable Tourism. While in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Minister Anthony Mahler shared some of the eco- qualities that distinguishes Belize from other destinations in Latin America. The spotlight was on Belizean culture at the Tianguis fair in Acapulco Mexico where visitors received enriching information about Belize as a tourism destination.  Belize is the sustainable tourism product. As the world celebrated Earth Day 2024 under the theme “Planet vs. Plastics,” Belize’s first Earth Day Pop – Up Market helped us discover just how many Belizean entrepreneurs are helping to ensure that our Planet wins.

Chat again later.

Jasmine Anderson

For the Belize Tourism Board