Small business procurement training

The Small Business Bureau (SBB), under the Ministry of Tourism, Industry and Commerce, in collaboration with the Public Procurement Commission (PPC), for the second consecutive year, successfully hosted a significant Procurement Training at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre (ACCC) on Wednesday 3rd July, 2024. This one day event, aimed at enhancing the capabilities of small businesses in competing for government contracts, was attended by over 109 participants, marking a milestone in the drive to empower small businesses in Guyana.

The collaboration between the Public Procurement Commission and the Small Business Bureau has proven to be instrumental in the success of this training. The event was designed to support the statutorily mandated Small Business Procurement Programme. S. 11 of the Small Business Act 2004 requires that the Government “use its best endeavors to ensure that at least 20% of the procurement of goods and services required annually by the Government is obtained from small businesses

This training is part of the PPC’s strategic effort to foster fair access to goods and services for small businesses in Guyana through public awareness so that persons may better navigate the system for maximum benefit. Article 212AA (1)(b) of the constitution mandates that the commission “promote awareness of the rules, procedures and special requirements of the procurement process among suppliers, contractors and public bodies.”

Ms. Tracy Gibson, Deputy Chairman of the Small Business Bureau, in delivering opening remarks emphasized the importance of this training in contributing to the economic development of the country. “Every year, the government purchases millions of dollars in procurement services. This Small Business Procurement Program ensures that small businesses have fair access to these opportunities. We encourage all participants to engage, ask questions, and foster collaborations that will drive their success,” she said.

Ms. Pauline Chase, Chairman of the Public Procurement Commission, highlighted the Commission’s mandate under Article 212AA (1), which includes monitoring, investigations, training, and legislative review. “Our team of specialists is here to offer you guidance in procurement. Take advantage of the program today and ask as many questions as you can. This is your opportunity to gain insights and clarity on the procurement process,” she advised.

Mr. Mohammed Shazim Ibrahim, CEO of the Small Business Bureau, during his presentation provided an overview of the Bureau’s services, including the SBB marketplace, sponsorship opportunities, youth entrepreneurship program, green technology fund, and the 20% procurement program. He also emphasized the importance of the SBB in supporting small businesses in their growth and development.

Ms. Raushell Underwood, Training Coordinator, led a session on navigating the web portal for tender submissions, demonstrating how to upload the required documents for the process. This hands-on training was crucial in ensuring participants are well-prepared to engage in government procurement.

The Public Procurement Commission commends the exemplary work of the Small Business Bureau (SBB) through the implementation of the online supplier portal, which has significantly enhanced micro and small businesses access to public sector procurement in Guyana. By establishing this information management system, the SBB has provided these businesses with a centralized view of Government invitations for bids and tenders. The cloud-based supplier portal offers registered clients access to a comprehensive bid library and a database of eligible businesses, streamlining bid creation, publishing, and information access, to ensure that at least 20% of government contracts are allotted to micro and small businesses in accordance with the Small Business Act. The SBB must be lauded for this progressive step taken in operationalizing the Small Business Procurement Portal thereby fostering growth and opportunities for small enterprises in Guyana, to drive local economic development.

The training was facilitated by the PPC’s Head of Operations, Mr. Dwight Dodson, along with Attorney-at-Law Ms. Esther Osborne, Procurement Specialist Mr. Davindra Persaud, and Civil Engineer Mr. Savion Paddy.

Throughout the day, participants gained clarity of public procurement, including the role and responsibilities of the Public Procurement Commission, the legislative framework under public procurement operates, the debarment process, procurement methods used in Guyana, tendering tips, tender opening and evaluations process. This knowledge is expected to empower participants to effectively participate in government procurement processes and leverage the 20% Procurement Programme to their advantage.

The training also featured interactive sessions where three lucky participants won prizes, adding an element of excitement and engagement to the day. The overwhelming positive feedback from participants underscores the importance and value of such initiatives in strengthening the capacity of small businesses.

The Public Procurement Commission remains committed to supporting small businesses and ensuring they have the tools and knowledge needed to thrive in the competitive landscape of
government procurement. This training is a significant step towards achieving that goal. The commission looks forward to such further collaborations in the execution of its functions.