WIIN injects $16M to over 200 women-owned start-ups

Over 200 women have taken the bold step to venture into business with a total of $16 million injected into their plans from the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security through the Guyana Women’s Leadership Institute’s Women Innovation and Investment Network (WIIN) business incubator.

The initiative, reflecting a partnership between the Ministry and the World Food Programme identified participants who, first completed a WIIN training course before utilizing the WIIN in business workshop.

Following this, the beneficiary completed and submitted their business plan which included a complete cash flow projection and detail on how they would develop their business through the services of the business incubator.

Over 700 persons were contacted and guided on the process of completing the qualifying criteria from Regions Two, Three, Four, Five, Six and Ten.

A total of 216 cash grants were distributed totaling $16.2M. Of this number, 157 new business were registered with 39 renewing their registration and 20 having valid registrations.

Minister of Human Services and Social Security, Honorable Dr. Vindhya Persaud:

“The entire concept was focused on making women win, win for themselves, win for their families, and win for their future. I want to create a level playing field for you so you can utilize the skills here to capitalize on all opportunities.

When WIIN was conceptualized it had to be accessible and inclusive so that meant you didn’t have to get anything to enter the programme and that was something I was very passionate about because no woman should feel this programme is so far away from her that she can’t get into it.

I want to congratulate all of you for taking the opportunity and entering the programme, you need to take what you learnt from this programme and invest in yourselves, and we decided to take this cash grant and tailor it towards a business that you want to start and walking you through the process.

This is a major investment the Government of Guyana has made for you to access this opportunity, last year we were able to put $120M towards WIIN, this year it’s more.”

Greg Munene, WFP’s programme policy officer highlighted, “WFP is proud to partner with the Ministry of Human Services in this journey to transform vulnerability to resilience using the cash grant, beneficiaries will be able to create opportunities by taking the next steps in starting a business and towards their journey of economic success and economic inclusion in Guyana.”

Jeep Landing, Kwakwani resident, Joy-Ann Mecedo, a mother of five whose husband has glaucoma in both of his eyes, said she is finding it extremely difficult to provide for her family but with this grant and the step-by-step guidance from the Ministry, she is closer to becoming an entrepreneur.

“My husband is 66 years old, and he has glaucoma in both of his eyes and can’t go into the back dam and work so it is really hard, we used to work but the market closed off about 10 years back…I’m starting a new business so this money will help me get off my feet so I can be a proud businesswoman,” Macedo said.

Meanwhile, 23-year-old Latesha Cadogan was introduced to the WIIN training and WIIN in business programme through social media, will be venturing into mushroom production.

“My vision is to provide various strains of mushroom to supply several industries including the oil sector and based out of my hometown in Linden. This initiative, through the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security’s empowerment cash grant, I will be able to get the start-up I need,” Cadogan said.

She added, “When I did the WIIN in business programme, I was able to put all my thoughts down on paper and they showed me what I needed to do with my business plan. During the course I got to know in-depth what is required for the long term.”

Region Two’s, Lavern Corbin, who is embarking on a food venture expressed gratitude to Minister Persaud and her team at the Ministry for affording her the opportunity to become successful in life.

Among the initiatives afforded by the Ministry to ensure the successful start to the business will be the collaboration with the Commercial Deeds Registry to have a clerk present at the exercise and register their businesses on the spot.

Meanwhile, during the seminars, these women would have been educated on the necessaries to secure their National Insurance Scheme and Guyana Revenue Authority compliances.

After completing the registration process, officers from the business incubator will continue to work along with the recipients to ensure their venture morphs into a thriving entity with several follow-ups and support.

Additionally, businesses will be able to access the free marketing and advertising platform through the WIIN app. WIIN has trained over 6000 persons with a further 6000 expected to be trained in 2023.