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Feb 8, 2022

Belize Student Starts Merchandise Business in Taiwan

It started with the Belizean T-shirts he made for himself, but now a Belizean student studying in Taiwan is producing  items for other international students with their country flags and colors. Twenty- three year old Josh Petillo from Punta Gorda is balancing his engineering studies with his entrepreneurship. His plan is to make his small business, Ignite Merchandize, a household brand. News Five’s Paul Lopez reports.


Josh Petillo

Josh Petillo, Ignite Merch [ Via Zoom]

“My business is called Ignite Merch and we focus on personalized merchandize.”


A Punta Gorda Town resident studying in Taiwan, Josh Petillo wanted to create a medium to showcase Belize. He started Ignite Merchandise.


Josh Petillo

“The reason I would say it is a bit different is because I don’t only focus on the Belize shirts. I would also do consumption for other countries such as Honduras, Central American countries, Caribbean countries; I also have some African countries as well. They would come to me and say oh, I like your Belize shirt; can you do one for our countries as well? And, that is what got the ball rolling as well, but Belize is the primary focus. We have the pillows, like these. It could be customized as well. And well the major one will be the graduation sashes. As you can see, this one is for a country called… Paraguay, this is for St. Kitts, and of course we have Belize as well, Honduras. These are the major ones for right now.”


Venturing into entrepreneurship has not been all smooth sailing for Petillo. He spoke about how he overcame the initial roadblocks.


Josh Petillo

“It was pretty challenging at first. AS you know, when you are starting a business and you have people would be a little bits skeptical about what you are doing, or I don’t think it will work, or I don’t think it is a good idea to do it now, maybe in the near future. But, I believe everything you have to approach with righteousness. You have to have the ambition and determination to get it done. You have to have the willpower to a certain degree. People will tell you it is not going to work, but you have to want it. And, I always tell myself having knowledge is not power, the execution of knowledge is power.”


Petillo says his goal is to make Ignite Merch a house hold name internationally.


Josh Petillo

“I would say to make Ignite Merch like a household name, to say, oh I bought something from Ignite Merch when it started, and it is really big now. The end game is really to merge what I learned in Taiwan to business now. I realized business is the way to go for me personally. It could be different for others, but I would want to make Ignite Merch a household name.”


Reporting for News Five, I am Paul Lopez.


Ignite Merch has gained popularity among Belizeans studying in Taiwan, but it is not yet available for shipping to Belize.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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