Orchids are a common sight on tree trunks, in pots as table centerpieces or planted in the ground, but entrepreneur Giselle Gutierrez prefers them on colored gels in little glass cups.
Through her project, called Vitroküp, Gutierrez and her daughter produce orchids in test tubes using in vitro technology, which will soon begin to be flown to Europe as these Santa Cruz residents are finalizing the exportation process.
The orchids grow without soil or water and are fed by gels composed of vitamins. That is where the company’s name comes from since küp means seed in Boruca, a dying native language in Central America.
Gutierrez is a social worker by profession but she has been researching plant propagation for five years, improving the company and seeking funding to expand her project.
The scientific process of reproducing the orchids is done in San Jose at the National Biotechnology Innovation Center. The seeds have not been transgenically altered in any way.
From Santa Cruz to the World
For now, Vitroküp is perfecting the final product’s appearance and is looking for different places to sell the flowers. However, she already has customers around the country and internationally to start exporting to Europe and the United States.
“I see my company creating jobs in Guanacaste, in skilled and unskilled positions. My dream is to have my own lab,” Gutierrez related.
According to the social worker, the brand has received a lot of support from the Ministry of Economy, Industry and Commerce (MEIC– Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Comercio) and from PROCOMER. In January of this year, she was part of the Costa Rican delegation in the IPM international plant trade fair in Germany.
Currently, the company operates by orders only, which can be coordinated by email: [email protected]. Depending on size, the orchids can range in price from ¢9,000 to ¢25,000 ($16.60 to $47.20).