Increased opportunities for small businesses to enhance service delivery − GNBS

Increased opportunities and initiatives to enhance the delivery of products and services are being rolled out to cater to small business owners, in keeping with the PPP/C Government’s manifesto commitment to providing incentives for small businesses and young entrepreneurs.

The latest of these is the reduction of staff complement requirements for small business participation in the National Quality Awards (NQA), hosted by the Guyana National Bureau of Standards (GNBS).

GNBS Marketing Officer George De Freitas (left), and GNBS Communications Officer, Bibi Khatoon

This was announced on Wednesday by GNBS Communications Officer Bibi Khatoon, during the launch of the National Quality Awards 2022 at the GNBS Main Office, Sophia Exhibition Centre.

The change, she said, came after GNBS found that most companies under the ‘Made in Guyana’ programme are small businesses or agro-processors.

“So, last year, to be a small business or agro-processor, you had to have 25 or fewer staff, and now it’s 10 or fewer employees. So, in that way, the smaller businesses that are just a family business or just five or six persons can also participate in the quality awards programme,” she explained.

In that way, she outlined that smaller businesses will not feel disadvantaged in competing against companies that are larger in terms of production, resources and now staff complement.

Rather, small businesses can compete with similarly-sized enterprises for a better process.

“So, in that way, they don’t have to compete with the bigger businesses, but our Certification Services department also gets the opportunity to check on the quality systems that they have in place on a smaller level. So [it’s] something that caters to that group of persons.”

Khatoon said the GNBS is looking forward to an increased number of applications for the National Quality Awards, especially with the increased investment in small enterprises and the push for increased production of local products and services.

GNBS Communications Officer, Bibi Khatoon

“In 2019, we had 33 businesses that applied, and 20 went on to participate; which means that the remainder did not meet the requirements of the awards programme. And in 2021, we had 54 applications and 36 companies that participated. And so, we have made a change, since we’ve introduced the ‘Made in Guyana’ programme,” she pointed out.

The ‘Made in Guyana’ certification was conceptualized to obtain certain objectives to develop Guyana’s local manufacturing capacity.

The mark will guarantee that all items manufactured have 60 per cent of local material input and have been produced by a company that has at least 70 per cent Guyanese labour force. The mark will also assure consumers of the quality of the items being manufactured in Guyana.

The National Quality Awards (NQA) Programme is Guyana’s first such programme. It is a biennial event and seeks to recognise local businesses that demonstrate commitment to quality systems and practices, both in the production of goods and delivery of services.

GNBS hosted its first NQA in 2017. The NQA is based on an impartial and comprehensive assessment of business operations, using pre-established criteria under the programme.

It is steered towards promoting the competitiveness of Guyanese products and services and enables businesses to strive for excellence, be at a competitive edge, and enhance growth and development while encouraging sustainability.