Over 100 WOW beneficiaries attend interactive session to boost businesses

GINA, GUYANA, Thursday, December 15, 2016

Representatives from the Ministry of Social Protection, Women of Worth (WOW) programme, the Guyana Marketing Corporation (GMC), and the Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry (GBTI) collaborated today, to host the first ever information session with WOW beneficiaries at the Ministry of Social Protection, Cornhill Street Office.

Rhonda Nelson, Business Development Officer in the special projects unit at the Ministry of Social Protection

Over 100 beneficiaries of the loan and grant programmes attended the interactive session with officials who shared information and answered questions. Ministry of Social Protection’s, Business Development Officer within the Special Projects Unit, Rhonda Nelson said the session was held for the, “Sharing of knowledge and questions challenging the business persons.” Once these questions are asked and answered, the Ministry will have a better understanding of “what more we can do to help you,” Nelson noted.

The WOW programme is a collaborative microcredit scheme with GBTI which aims to help single mothers start small businesses. However, both men and women benefit from this project.

The WOW loan project was officially initiated in 2010, but only in December 2015 the grant programme started. Nelson noted that the WOW programme was initiated so as to, “Help overcome poverty and help aid employment, and ultimately make better lives,” for entrepreneurs and their families.

GBTI’s Assistant Manager, Corporate Credit, Tonia Griffith, enlightened beneficiaries about the loan process and information about the banking system. Griffith explained that this loan programme under WOW caters for several categories including catering, dressmaking, poultry rearing, green energy and floral arrangements. She said, “It’s a six percent loan that we offer, the minimum is $100,000, maximum is $250,000 and we give it for a period of two years.”

Griffith noted that it is “equity free” meaning that you can go to the bank “with whatever your project is once it’s up to $250,000 we look at

Patricia Hodge- La Rose , owner of OTC Plus

it,” however, “you have to go through the Ministry first,” she explained.

The Ministry of Agriculture is another of the participating organisations that was involved in the discussions. Representatives of the Guyana Livestock Development Authority (GLDA) and the Guyana Marketing Corporation (GMC) both shared their knowledge and were able to answer many questions from the beneficiaries.

GLDA representative Colleen Bascom explained that the goal of the authority is to give, “technical support to livestock rearers.” Bascom noted that there are three basic units “that deal with farmers on a daily basis.” These are: Animal Production, Animal Health and Genetic Improvements.

Bascom explained that “the animal production unit…deals with housing for livestock, feeding and nutrition, animal health unit which looks at the health status and genetic improvement or the artificial insemination unit, which   deals with breeding and to help improve on the stock that you have.” She stressed the importance of record keeping in the Animal Production Unit.

Meanwhile representative of GMC, Joann David said, “Through the Guyana Marketing Corporation we give you guidance on how to start your business, what are the ideas or things you need to look for.”

A section of the attendees at the information session at the Ministry of Social Protection, Cornhill street branch.

David urged the entrepreneurs, “You are not limited by what you do but how you do it and you must always try to improve.”

Some of the issues discussed related to drainage, early death of chickens, and cost of documents for the loan process.

The majority of the beneficiaries expressed gratitude for the loans and grants, with some even pointing out that it has helped them tremendously in their business endeavours.

Patricia Hodge-La Rose, a single mother, received her loan last year. She stated,  “the loan has helped me to restock my store and I was able to add additional stock, ( as well as) add an  additional section to my store, now I have a complete general store.”

The single mother applauded the Ministry for hosting the session and said it was, “very informative; it gives me ideas to move forward to the new year and new programmes that WOW would be having that I may be able to benefit or I can advise other people to benefit from.” Hodge-La Rose’s business, OTC Plus is located on Durban Street.


By: Zanneel Williams