Boosting micro, small and medium enterprises
─ Business Ministry mulls establishment of Small Business Development Centres
─ more persons becoming entrepreneurs – Min. Rajkumar
DPI, Guyana, Sunday, September 22, 2019
More persons are interested in becoming entrepreneurs since 2015, and the Small Business Bureau (SBB) has given out $4Billion in guaranteed loans to young businessmen and women since this period.
Minister of Business, Hon. Haimraj Rajkumar made this disclosure on Saturday while he was a guest on the programme ‘INSIGHT’ on VYBZ 100.1 FM in the National Communications Network’s (NCN) studio.
“There are many Guyanese who are interested in developing their own small businesses and of course the Small Business Bureau assists these budding entrepreneurs. They (SBB) has given grants to persons looking to start-up their business ventures; and to those who are already in business, we encourage them to do more,” he explained.
To this end, another plan that the Business Ministry has in its pipeline is the establishment of Small Business Development Centres across the country that will train young entrepreneurs to successfully execute their respective business plan.
The objective is to replicate this initiative through collaboration with the University of San Antonio, which has established similar centres. Minister Rajkumar added that officials from the San Antonio University will be visiting Guyana in November to assist with the implementation of the concept.
According to Minister Rajkumar, the ministry through the SBB, has hosted numerous training programmes for individuals who are venturing into business.
Meanwhile, the SBB has provided over $4Billion in guaranteed loans to young businessmen and women since 2015. For this year the agency has provided $36M in grants, for persons in Regions 2, 5, 6 and 10.
These grants, the Business Minister said, can only be accessed by registered members of SBB and carry only a 6% interest as opposed to what is offered at commercial banks.
“The grants are not handouts. This is taxpayers’ money and the ministry through the SBB has a system in place to account for this money. We conduct follow-up visits a few months after presenting the cheques, to ensure plans are being executed correctly.”
“I believe that a young entrepreneur or person who applies for such a grant and has to go through the various processes has a genuine intent and they really want to establish a business and we have to encourage them so they can be successful.”
Meanwhile, Minister Rajkumar said that the ministry is also working assiduously on its Small Business Act, which will allow small business contractors to attain 20 percent of all government contracts.
“One of the things that we are looking at right now is to create a specification and definition of what a small business is so more people can be eligible for the contracts under the small business act,” he noted.
Regarding the University of Guyana’s (UG) recently established School of Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation (SEBI) the minister said:
“I believe the concept is great … It is a bold step and a good step for the University of Guyana to help educate our young people who wish to walk this path.”