Belvedere Business Incubator Centre operationalised

a commitment of gov’t fulfilled – Min Walrond

Small business owners of East and West Berbice will now benefit from improved access to business production resources with the official commissioning of the Belvedere Business Incubator Centre.

The newly recommissioned Belvedere Business Incubator Centre

While the centre was constructed and commissioned in February 2020, the building was not staffed or equipped with the necessary resources.  

As such, provisions were made in the PPP/C Government’s 2021 budget to provide equipment and staff for the facility, and the centre was officially opened for public use on Tuesday.

A tea bag packaging machine in one of the incubator pods

The investment totals over $100 million.

While delivering the feature address at the Belvedere Industrial Site in Region Six, Tourism, Industry and Commerce Minister, Oneidge Walrond, highlighted the blatant disregard exhibited by the previous government in its failure to operationalise the centre.

A commercial packaging machine

She called the prior opening a farce and attributed the inaction to the former government’s lack of care for the region.

“During my first budget speech, I gave my firm undertaking that this facility would be operationalised within this first term of our PPP/Civic Administration. I did so with the understanding that the failure to operationalise it before that time had nothing to do with available resources. Rather, there was a lack of political will, a lack of strategic direction, a lack of insight, and a lack of concern for the people of this region.”

Tourism, Industry and Commerce Minister, Oneidge Walrond

Despite this, Minister Walrond expressed her elation at being able to present the much-needed facility to the community and declared it open.  

“Various pods have been outfitted with high-quality agro-processing machinery, constituted production lines for cooking oil, tea bags, indigenous flours and packaged food products.

“The equipment in the facility contains coconut deshelling and grinding machines, tea bag packaging equipment, filling machines, and a root tuber peeler for the washing and peeling of ground provisions,” she outlined.

Minister Walrond cutting the ribbon to commission the incubator centre

The centre also contains a dehydrator and mill, which the minister said can be used for the production of dried seasonings.

The Small Business Bureau (SBB), an agency which falls under the purview the ministry, will continue to examine ways of expanding the operations in the county, Minister Walrond committed.

A shredder unit in one of the incubator pods

Soon, a warehouse facility, as well as additional staff will be added to the facility to aid in the realisation of the government’s vision for the region.

The commissioning of the centre is a testament to the PPP/C Government’s commitment to helping small businesses and developing the agro-processing industry. Several small businesses have been identified to utilise the centre’s facilities.