Prospects for at-risk youths

─ Small Business Bureau to train vulnerable youths

─ several young people received grants just last week after completing training

DPI, Guyana, Tuesday, July 23, 2019

At-risk youths are being targetted for necessary training and push, to establish their business ventures. This initiative is being undertaken by the Ministry of Public Security in collaboration with the Small Business Bureau (SBB).

According to Research and Marketing Officer with SBB, Shamane Headley, the initiative that began a mere two years ago.

“That programme started in 2017 and has been going very well. We worked in Georgetown and Berbice, specifically Sophia and Angoy’s Avenue Berbice. Approximately 85 youths were trained, and we distributed grants to those students who started businesses, $300,000 grants.”

Headley was at the time providing information on the initiatives being carried out by the Bureau.

For 2019, thus far, 38 youths have already been trained, and another 44 are currently undergoing training. This time around, targetted youths are from Regions 3, 4, 5, 6 and 10. Several of the young people who have already completed the training were issued grants just last week.

However, the Bureau’s work with youths does not stop here, as Headley enthusiastically explained. “We also have an In-School Entrepreneurship Programme, and I am especially pleased about it because that’s sort of like my baby, where we give grants to students at the secondary level. A grant of a maximum $30,000.00. Schools within all 10 regions participate. We worked with 104 students in 2017 when the programme was launched.”

According to Headley, the initiative has since grown. Around 123 students have been engaged by the Bureau thus far for the year with plans to register more come September. While the Bureau has been doing such extensive work with youth, Headley indicated that the focus this year is on the 20% government procurement programme.

“That’s a programme the Small Business Bureau is responsible for to ensure that small enterprises across Guyana have access to government contracts, government tenders and that will help to build their revenue and build their capacity within our local context.”

Section 11:1 of the Small Business Act of 2004 provides for at least 20% of procurement of goods and services, required annually by the government, be obtained from small businesses. The act further specifies that the Small Business Council, which oversees the Small Business Bureau (SBB), shall facilitate this by preparing a Small Business Procurement Programme.

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