Genesis of the Program
Guam Unique Merchandise & Arts (GUMA) recognizes there is no end to the creativity, passion, and pride of Guam's local artists and cultural producers. However, many artisans lack the resources or business and marketing acumen necessary to advance their craft into sustainable products that can compete in a retail environment.
Recognizing these barriers, in late 2013, the Galaide Group and DFS Guam formed the Guam Unique Merchandise and Arts (GUMA) program to provide business training and incubator support to these talented individuals. In 2014, GUMA became a 501(c)3 federally recognized non-profit entity. That same year GUMA applied for and was awarded a three-year grant from the Administration for Native Americans (ANA). This grant, along with generous start up funding from the DFS Group and support from our public and private partners, has allowed the GUMA program to expand its mission goals and objectives.
The Guam Unique Merchandise and Arts (GUMA) Program was created to assist local artists and cultural practitioners develop their art and products into sustainable small business that can survive in a highly competitive retail environment. Our mission statement and goals include:
"To mentor and support aspiring local artists, cultural producers and entrepreneurs, transforming their creativity, skills and innovative spirit into self-sustainable businesses with marketable products of the highest quality that are uniquely Guam."
- Goal 1: Identify local artists and cultural producers who have the entrepreneurial spirit and high potential to succeed in a highly competitive retail environment;
- Goal 2: Provide them with the training, resources, and guidance to create marketable and sustainable Guam products;
- Goal 3: Provide advocacy and assistance for the display and sales of their product collections in retail outlets and shops;
- Goal 4: Work with our community to develop a sustainable market for high quality Guam products; and,
- Goal 5: Encourage other local artists and cultural producers to pursue their dreams of entrepreneurship!
GUMA offers a number of free programs to support its program participants:
- GUMA Entrepreneurial Training Program: Participants learn how to develop and operate a successful small business by creating a business plan customized to their products in a classroom setting.
- GUMA Business Incubation Program: This program provides grant funds and mentoring to aid in business start-ups for selected graduates from the GUMA Entrepreneurial Training Program.
- Market Research and Surveys: GUMA coordinates annual events designed to allow participants to test market their products with local and visitor industry consumers.
- GUMA Consignment and Retail Sales Assistance: GUMA provides marketing and sales assistance to incubator participants through the GUMA Gallery and provides linkages to local retailers.
Other assistance offered:
- Advocacy for obtaining small business and micro credit loans
- Branding, retailing, and merchandising mentoring
- Identification of vendors and resources
- Forensic reviews of products, packaging, and price points
- Copyright, trademark, and intellectual protection rights for products and designs
A Board of Directors oversees the GUMA program and our project team provides direct guidance and support to our participants. As the program grows, GUMA will continue to reach out to public, private, non-governmental organizations and individuals to expand and forward its mission and goals.
|Board of Directors||Program Team Members|
The Guam Unique Merchandise and Arts Program is currently funded through a grant from the Administration for Native Americans (Grant # 90NE0021). We also receive local support from the Guam Visitors Bureau, the Guam Legislature, DFS Guam Ltd., and other generous public and private partners such as:
As the GUMA project continues to grow, we invite like-minded private sector companies, organizations, and individuals to join our efforts in creating sustainable businesses and jobs for our residents. Contact us and see how your organization can participate as a sponsor or benefactor in building our local economy as a GUMA partner!