Sophia residents trained in business sustainability, management

Some 100 residents of Sophia, Georgetown who received small business development grants from government earlier this month, were on Sunday trained in business sustainability management.

The one-day exercise was facilitated by the Ministry of Tourism, Industry and Commerce’s Small Business Bureau (SBB), at the Sophia Exhibition Centre.

Sophia residents during the training session on business sustainability and management

The engagement brought to the fore a number of salient functional areas, including basic and preliminary concepts to properly plan, direct and market a commercial operation.

Trainee, Shemeera Kadan to DPI that the session helped her with various business ideas that can be undertaken.  

“I planning to open a business, so the training is helping me to get an understanding on how to be an entrepreneur, and it’s giving me ideas on what business that you could open in the area that could benefit you, and your family.” Kadan stated.

Shemeera Kadan

Another trainee, Ramkarran Ram believes the training was very informative, noting that it has defined the way forward for him to start a business, “or if you already have a business, how you can capture on that, and propel on that business.”

Ramkarran Ram

Meanwhile, Patrick Jacobs commended the organisers for the efforts made to move forward in providing real guidance to small business owners.

“I feel very good, the feeling is from my heart, where by they didn’t only give you the money, but they are showing you how to develop it, how to make you grow and it very good,” Jacobs emphasised.

Patrick Jacobs

Jacobs is happy that his canteen venture will now be expanded. He believes that the intervention by the administration will further advance Guyana’s already burgeoning business economy. 

“I am a food vendor; I have a taxi that I do some work on the side. I am developing my canteen into a place not only for selling food, but where people can come and sit and dine. So, I have to get a bar, chairs and other things,” an excited Jacob underscored.

Meanwhile, Director of Business, John Edghill explained that the beneficiaries were selected following several levels of assessment in the community, which ensured that persons in need receive help. 

Director of Business, John Edghill

The assessment phase was a collaborative exercise between the Ministries of Tourism Industry and Commerce and Local Government and Regional Development, and the Office of the Prime Minister.

On July 2, the team returned and distributed some 100 small business development grants valued $250,000 each to the Sophia residents. 

Edghill said the ministry is not only focused on providing access to finance, but believes capacity development is an important model that paves the way for a business to be successful.

“It could add to the economy of not just the larger gross domestic product, but those local communities, so that families can be touched because many of these persons might be single mothers, many of them have many dependents in their homes,” he explained.

With close to 900 persons already benefitting from small business grants in Regions Two, Six and Ten, the business director disclosed that the ministry plans to conduct similar training in those districts. 

Government is committed to providing business opportunities for interested citizens across Guyana. The SBB has provided hundreds of grants over the last two years.  In 2021 alone, about 738 persons received the business cash assistance in every region, which accounts for more than $300 million.

“We were able to also provide those same businesses with training to ensure that sustainability of the access to finance that we have provided them,” Edghill added.

He said the aim is to have the entrepreneurs work towards having their businesses attain a world class status, where their products are on demand all year round.