Photo Credit: Photo Credit: Guyana Rum Fest
Meet Yonnick David, The Black Entrepreneur Reforming Guyana's Tourism
For a lot of our immigrant parents and immigrants today, the goal of coming to the United States is to become successful so you can help your family back home. When one from the fray is considered to have the most potential to succeed, the community invests in that person and does all it can to help them achieve the “American Dream”. So in return, all their lives could be better. Yonnick David came to the United States, saw what he needed to see, and conquered. He’s already uplifted his community but now he’s on a path to uplift his native country… Guyana.
City Of Gods
At a young age, David was already excelling beyond his peers. He graduated two years early from his high school. Then moved to New York City to pursue his college education. During his time in the big city, he already solidified a career with Lufthansa as an operations agent. Within his 20s he was able to secure more money than most people his age. This created time for what most young successful New Yorkers do in their twenties become a socialite in the nightlife business. Within months, David was able to build connections with nightclub owners and managers in the biggest city in the world.
At the tender age of 25, he was a full- time entrepreneur. He leveraged his relationships into managing one of New York’s hottest nightclubs and the very popular AM Recording Studios. By the following year he acquired enough capital to become part owner of the nightclub he was managing and several businesses. But it wasn’t always a bed of roses during his climb as an entrepreneur. He invested in several failed projects as well but learned from the mistakes he had made.
In 2014 his grandmother was turning 80 and he promised her he would be in Guyana. He spent two weeks in Georgetown and began to recognize opportunities within his homeland. “During my visit, I went to a few night spots and restaurants. It had been quite a few years since I had been back and everything was the same. But, the people were wearing fancier clothes, the cars were nicer, but everyone was doing the traditional businesses, and nothing pushed the boundaries. It felt like one big start-up. So I figured out that a fresh perspective and some dollars could really turn things around.” He gave himself a year to return to Guyana and tie up loose ends in New York. He returned to Guyana in 2015 and started his journey of entrepreneurship in his home country.
Politics As Usual
Using the same networking talents he picked up in the Big Apple, he once again targeted the people he would need to make things happen in Guyana. “New York City taught me that meeting, getting to know, and having people that believed in you in your corner made all the difference. Regardless of if they had influence or not. Every productive endorsement is a step up.” By 2018 David already made and nurtured relationships with business owners and the government in Guyana. From the vegetable vendors, to the fisherman along the coasts, to even all the cooks at the local restaurants, David befriended everyone he would eventually need.
Guyana’s Rum Fest
“Guyana is a young country, they only got independence in 1966 – so because it is such a young country a lot of the newer ideas weren’t here yet. It made more sense for me to establish something for my own roots. “ said David.
In 2020, David and his team of entrepreneurs and investors had developed Guyana’s first ever Rum Fest. A weekend of tastings, music & culture, along with alcohol ambassadors, and spirit lovers. Inspired by the rum fest all over the world, David could foresee a new class of tourism the fest would bring to Guyana. The rum fest also made a great platform in telling the story of Guyana’s agriculture. Before their independence Guyana was a sugar- producing colony for England. Rum is a byproduct of sugar production, which created another source of revenue when heavy importation started in the UK. Guyana’s world- renowned El Dorado Rums and XM Rums participated in David’s first Rum Fest. In its first outing Guyana Rum Fest 2020 had over 5,000 attendees each day. “The success of our first rum fest has directed a lot of eyes on Guyana. Many brands from different countries have shown interest in being a part of Guyana Rum Fest 2022,” stated David.
With the combination of Guyana’s rich topography for excursions. Such as hiking, waterfalls, and hunting experiences as well as the diversity of its people, David has created an opportunity for the country of Guyana to become a major destination in South America with its Rum Fest. “I want more people to see how beautiful my country is, even if we have to do it one sip at a time.” – Yonnick David.