There’s the ‘GUBA Awards’ – the prestigious Ghana UK Based Achievement awards founded in 2009 to celebrate the achievements of individuals in the British Ghanaian society –on the same line, stands ‘GUBA EXPO’, the two-day event, which premiered on 7th November 2014.
The word ‘EXPO’ in the brand’s name, stands for ‘exposure’, or ‘exhibition’, and as one would expect this term fits perfectly well with the concept of this new platform, which is to showcase Ghanaian made products and provides an avenue for small or big businesses, to find their niche into the prominently fierce British market.
I attended the 2nd day of ‘GUBA EXPO’, not as a business entrepreneur or with a marketing degree fastened in my right hand, but simply as a creative and inquisitive mind, wanting to witness directly what the widely publicised event has to offer.
Rewinding to Day 1 of the event, it was composed of workshops and discussions, led by speakers who shared their expertise on the craft of business; a vivid exchange between members of the audience and industry experts. Some of the guests were Mavis Amankwah and Ghana’s minister of tourism and culture, Mrs Elizabeth Ofosu Agyare.
Day 2 was focused on the display of various African products; a chance for ‘GUBA EXPO’ and the investors to stand their grounds and prove to the audience and store’s representatives present why these Ghanaian made products were indeed worth importing to the British ground.
As a Ghanaian myself, it was with a mix of pride and astonishment, hidden under a calm pretence and demeanour that I walked through the sectors interestingly looking at products made in Ghana. There were clothes, bags, accessories and phones cases, covered in vibrant African print. There were also skin nourishment creams composed of natural ingredients from the West African country. From some steps away, I could also see a natural-made honey brand, and as I approached, the owner proudly tells me that the packaging and all that it contains originates from Ghana, which makes it all “natural”. From the other side of the room, I noticed a vivid exchange between a Tesco’s representative, and a woman discussing what I believe is Ghana’s favourite pepper sauce ‘Shitto’ conserved in a small transparent jar in the table in front of them.
As I spoke with GUBA founder, Dentaa, she explained to me that the inspiration for it started in 2013 when she witnessed the “remarkable products” that Ghanaians made through one of ‘GUBA awards’ categories for ‘Best product’, she recounts: “That’s when I realised ‘Wow, Ghanaians are actually making some remarkable products’, why is It not in the shops anytime I go, why isn’t in Tesco’s, why isn’t in Selfridges or Topshops or Topman, what can we do about that?” When asked about ‘GUBA EXPO’, she explained, “It’s about getting our products out there, and it’s about Ghanaians, Africans and other individuals coming to buy the products.”
‘GUBA EXPO’ is indeed changing the formal perception sometimes associated with business, and creates an exciting line for African and Ghanaian products to be promoted and used on an international scale.
Check out the Myriam’s video, capturing her experience and featuring interview with GUBA founder Dentaa Amaoteng below;
Myriam Osei @Angelpeacejoy)