Small Enterprises to tap into govt business

– first phase of SBB Micro and Small Enterprise Development programme ends
– close to 80 per cent of small businesses still operational
– project deemed a success
– continual training recommended for phase two

DPI, Guyana, Thursday, September 27, 2018

The Small Business Bureau (SBB) today closed the first of two phases of its Micro and Small Enterprise Development (MSED) programme. The closing ceremony at the Herdmanston Lodge attracted many clients, beneficiaries and SBB partners including the Inter-American Development Bank.

The $1.04B (US$5M) programme which began in 2013 was executed in two parts; Access to Finance and Business Development Services. A total of 199 loans were disbursed at a cost of $659M; 545 grants were disbursed to date at a cost of $163M and 3,700 persons were trained across the regions in various programmes.

SBB’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Dr. Lowell Porter said during the programme’s five years, several objectives were achieved. “Through our monitoring and evaluation (that is not yet completed), it shows that 78 per cent of small businesses five years later are still alive today.” The CEO added this is commendable since 50 per cent of small businesses in other countries disappear within the first five years.

Dr. Porter said for many small businesses in Guyana, starting up poses a challenge due to infrastructure and access to finance. Dr. Porter said these issues were addressed to a great extent over the years by the MSED programme. The CEO promised SBB’s continued support in fostering small business enterprises.

Several beneficiaries commended SBB for its support during the ceremony. One of such was Christopher Persaud, who noted that he would like to see small businesses getting the opportunity to tap into the government’s procurement business.

Delivering the key address, Minister of Business, Dominic Gaskin noted that the MSED project has defined the work of the SBB.
The minister promised for the second phase that government will ensure small enterprises get a bigger share of its business.

“This has been something I have been pushing to develop; we have been trying in our ministry to get this developed and a lot of work has already gone into it… I think we are at an advanced stage of developing the programme. I want to say to the Small Business Council, do whatever you need to conclude this programme; complete the development of this programme or whatever it takes, I will take full responsibility. It is very important, it has to do with creating opportunities for small businesses.” 

Minister Gaskin stressed that the second phase of the MSED programme will be critical to small businesses since Guyana is at an economic crossroad with its recent oil find. He said more needs to be done in the trajectory towards a green economy in which small businesses can take centre stage.

The Business Minister further commended the IDB for its solid partnership in the project and the entire SBB team along with partnering banks and firms.

IDB Country Representative, Sophie Makonnen expressed satisfaction with the programme’s success and its role in creating an enabling environment. She recommended continual training to ensure more success going forward.

Crystal Stoll.
Image: Giovannie Gajie.

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