SBB can develop and expand Co-ops – CEO, Dr. Porter

DPI, Guyana, Friday, July 3, 2020

Chief Executive Officer, of the Small Business Bureau (SBB) Dr. Lowell Porter, has said the agency can play a critical role in the development and expansion of co-operatives.

“We want to work together with any co-op or group because the bottom line is, if we do not support the small businesses, we run the risk of losing that opportunity for these small ventures to grow into medium and large enterprises.”

Dr. Porter was at the time making a presentation via Zoom on a panel discussion in observation of International Cooperative Day slated for July 4.

Highlighting that the SBB provides access to finance, the CEO, expressed the wish to see more see small business entrepreneurs and vulnerable groups in outlying regions take advantage of the financial assistance.

“We want to day-by-day create the necessary expertise so that we can better support these small businesses and in collaboration with the government will continue to facilitate investment in small business development,” he underscored.

The agency he noted is mandated to provide strategic guidance and identifying opportunities for the improvement of service to clients. Chief among this is addressing financial constraint through access to credit and grants.

Dr. Porter explained, “We ensure clients who are interested in expanding their businesses meet the requirements that will allow them to apply for a loan at the bank. The agency will provide a collateral guarantee ranging between 40-70 percent.”

Loans are available up to the amount of $30Million with an interest rate of six percent – lower than any other bank in the country,” he added.

Under the grant scheme, the CEO said clients will submit business plans which are reviewed by an external committee and once approved will receive funding up to $200,000 towards their business start-up or expansion. Clients are not required to repay these grants

Dr. Porter noted that the development of Co-Ops or “cluster developments” as the agency terms them help to address the needs of the communities and identify gaps. The agency, in turn, helps to find the solution to address those gaps.

“When it comes to business, I believe that there are higher returns by working together. They (Co-Ops) provide for competitiveness within the local market as members can better compete as a group as opposed to individuals,” he explained

Dr. Porter encouraged interested persons to contact the bureau reminding that it is there to help grow small businesses and support business development. He believes that with the expertise available at the bureau, the co-op society in Guyana can build a long-lasting legacy.

The theme for this year’s International Cooperative Day is “Cooperative education and life, livelihood and life-long learning.”