Five Region Nine entrepreneurs recognised for their hard work

  • receive $100,000 each to expand their businesses

DPI, Guyana, Saturday, June 30, 2018

Thirty-three-year-old Rockcliffe Rodrigues is involved in livestock rearing despite living with a disability.

Rodrigues, who resides in Aranaputa Valley, plans to establish a butchery and provide beef, pork and mutton to hot meal kitchens, restaurants and residents in the North Rupununi. His mission is to one day become a top livestock farmer in the region

Using the skills acquired and $120,000 through the Hinterland Employment and Youth Service (HEYS) programme, along with an additional $50,000 grant, Rodrigues purchased 41 head of sheep, four cows and 12 horses.

He is one of five young entrepreneurs of the Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo region who received $100,000 each from Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo to expand their business. The Prime Minister, who is acting in the capacity of President, was attending the Regional Toshaos’ Conference in Lethem, on June 28.

At the HEYS Business Pitch and prize giving ceremony at the St. Ignatius Village Benab, Lethem, Prime Minister Nagamootoo commended the youths for fully utilising the opportunities offered to them through the HEYS programme.

The Prime Minister reminded that the programme is a fulfilment of a promised made by the government when they terminated the Youth Entrepreneurship and Apprenticeship Programme (YEAP) programme in 2015; replacing it with a programme that allows youth to be trained and certified and become their own bosses. Today, the HEYS programme is a huge success and has created about 800 entrepreneurs across the country.

“We didn’t give handouts and give them a red shirt and give them money every month and tell them to go and picket and makeup crowds and to do political work. We wanted young people to have a livelihood and in order to have a livelihood, you must be trained and be taught a skill and that is why we employed instructors. So, the HEYS programme has now flooded the hinterland and we have trained about 4000 young peoples and they are now self-employed,” Prime Minister Nagamootoo said.

The youths, who come from Hiawa, Aranaputa Valley, Toka and Quarrie all received training through the Hinterland Employment and Youth Service (HEYS) programme. They utilised the funding provided to them from that project to establish businesses.

Unis and Joy Davis, two sisters of Toka Village are the proud owners of Davis ‘Beekeeping Enterprise.”  The sisters pooled their funds and purchased beekeeping equipment to begin their honey venture.

With plans to expand their business on both the local and international markets, the Davis sisters are upgrading their packaging.  They plan to purchase labelling machine that will allow them to design and print unique custom-made labels for their product.

Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Sydney Allicock explained that the support is a form of encouragement to the youths. He commended them for their hard work and dedication and encouraged them to put their funds to good use.

“We are investing in you, we are helping you to be rounded for the eventual take off of what is coming. More opportunities are coming and we need you to be fully prepared. For those of you who didn’t take it to the top five, continue to work hard and you will be recognised.”

Launched in October 2015, the HEYS programme aims to prepare hinterland youth for leadership roles in their communities.

By: Synieka Thorne

Images: Keno George