Guyana on the brink of a micro-enterprise revolution-President Granger

Georgetown, Guyana – (June 23, 2017)

President David Granger said that Guyana is on “the brink of a micro-enterprise revolution.” The Head of State, who was speaking during a recording of the television programme, ‘The Public Interest’, pointed out that people across the country are increasingly producing quality commodities from their homes and in small factories. The Government of Guyana through several programmes is creating an enabling environment for the development of micro enterprises.

“There is an upwelling of micro-enterprises and I think once people go around the country they’re going to see that some of the changes that were introduced over the past two years are taking root,” the President said. Further, Government is working to gradually develop an enabling environment, for the growth of such small businesses. The creation of three capital towns at Bartica, Lethem and Mabaruma, along with the pre-existing towns, which are intended to be central business hubs, the President envisions, is a key part of the development of this productive business environment for entrepreneurs. “Part of the reason why we campaigned so long and hard for Local Government Elections is because it would revitalise the neighbourhoods by establishing capital towns in those three areas,” the President said.

Government has reduced the red tape as it relates to starting a local business. To register a business the intended business owner would have to do so through the Deeds Registry, located at the Supreme Court Building. An application form would be provided and completed with the necessary information. Once the form is submitted, along with $5,000, it would take approximately seven working days for the information to be processed. For foreign investors, the Guyana Office for Investment (GO-invest) has simplified the process for registering a business, with all the necessary information and registration forms available on its website www.goinvest.gov.gy. Basic required information include the proposed name of the company, the proposed address of the registered office in Guyana, the classes and any maximum number of shares that the Company is authorized to issue, registration of shares, if any, and the number (or minimum/maximum) of directors, among others.

Even as Government works to increase foreign direct investment, President Granger said efforts are being made to promote value added goods and services produced at the micro level for exportation. Capacity building is a critical component of this and the Ministry of Business, through the Small Business Bureau (SBB) and the “New Guyana Marketing Corporation (NEWGMC) is facilitating workshops for small businesses and entrepreneurs in the agricultural and manufacturing sectors, which provide information on improved agro-processing methods. Entrepreneurs can benefit, also, from the Small Business Initiative Fund.

To continue to foster the growth of micro enterprises, there are mechanisms provided through various agencies and ministries. Recently, the Ministry of Communities launched a programme dubbed the Procurement and Project Implementation Community Workshop (PPICW).

This programme is intended to promote greater understanding of the regional procurement process, provide information on standard practices of project implementation and building confidence for increasing participation in the implementation of Public Sector Investment Programmes (PSIP) by small and community-based contractors. The initiative forms part of the Ministry’s response to cries of residents and contractors of discriminatory practices in the regional procurement system and it aims to reduce the level of non-responsive bids, widen the number of contractors and suppliers executing regional contracts and improve the quality of work executed in the regions. It also seeks to ensure greater ownership of the process and product of the projects implemented in communities.

The workshop was first launched in New Amsterdam, and conducted in Anna Regina, Region three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara) and will be held in all the Capital Towns and communities across the regions. Participants targeted in these workshops include small contractors, community artisans and other service suppliers who may feel excluded from the system. The PPICW is designed for their empowerment and employment. It is also expected that over time from among these contractors and service providers will come the new generation of reputable and reliable regional and national contractors and service providers. It is expected that this programme would impact positively on local economic empowerment and the quality of life in communities. The PPICWs are not intended to be executed by the Ministry of Communities alone; rather, each regional administration is encouraged to conduct similar workshops for its residents.

Government’s push towards entrepreneurship is also demonstrated in the establishment of initiatives such as the Sustainable Livelihood and Entrepreneurial Development (SLED) Initiative; the Hinterland Employment and Youth Service (HEYS) Programme; and the Linden Enterprise Network (LEN).  These programmes, since their establishment, have sought to equip young people with the requisite skills, knowledge and finance needed to become thriving entrepreneurs. Added to these, the Ministry of Education in recognition of the high level of unemployment among Guyana’s youth, and the need to promote youth development, has embarked on a youth innovation project, the YIPoG. The project will address in and out-of-school youth, and is intended to “harness the hidden innovative spirit among young people, by providing timely and affordable interventions and funding to implement their pioneering ideas.” Some $50 Million has been earmarked for the funding aspect of this initiative. The project will support existing initiatives in the Department of Culture Youth and Sport (DCYS) such as the Youth Entrepreneurship and Skills Training Programme (YEST), the Volunteerism Support Platform (VSP), and the President’s Youth Award Programme Republic of Guyana (PYARG). The work plans of the YEST, VSP and PYARG programmes will be reorganised to align with the DCYS’ priority of innovation.

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