The first Business incubator will be established shortly providing targeted resources and services to develop start-up businesses and fledging companies. This was made possible through a memorandum of understanding signed between development organisation Cuso International, the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Small Business Bureau and private enterprise GeoTechVision Guyana.
The business incubation centre or business incubator “addresses many of the problems new businesses face, such as unaffordable workspaces, lack of access to finance or appropriate mentoring” a statement from Cuso international said.
In an official signing ceremony, Ms. Rajdai Jagarnauth, Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Business, Mr. Vishnu Doerga, president of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Ms. Valrie Grant, Managing Director of GeoTechVision Guyana and Tariq Williams, regional programme officer for Cuso International, agreed to come together to engage in awareness campaigns, workshops, and competitions to help to get the project started.
“It’s a step closer to creating the environment required to help up and coming businesses to get the support they need,” Doerga said, adding that “in Guyana, for forever, we’ve ended up in a situation where companies had basically to become successful by trial and error,” he said, explaining that many had therefore fallen by the wayside. “It is our intention to have this collaboration raise the level of success that aspiring entrepreneurs are able to achieve.”
Patsy Russell, a Cuso International volunteer who is the coordinator of the initiative through a placement at the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry said she felt a public-private partnership was the best way to establish the incubator, especially as the incubator plans to target young entrepreneurs.
“When you do a private [only] incubator in an economy like this– a developing economy with a high level of unemployment especially among young people – a whole segment of the population is left out and will not be able to partake in this process…So by having the private mixed with the public sector as well, more people can be involved in this process of entrepreneurship, and thereby reduce poverty, decrease unemployment, and pave the road towards economic development in the country,” Russell explained.”
Last year, the World Bank Group InfoDev selected GeoTechVision as a business enabler to provide training and mentorship to other Guyanese companies.
“Being entrepreneurs ourselves and having gone through an incubator ourselves, we figured that this would be an ideal way to contribute to the ecosystem here in Guyana,” said Grant, GeoTechVision’s managing director, adding that being able to work with so many partners on the initiative was special for them.
Permanent Secretary Jagarnauth said the initiative is important because Guyana is a small economy and there are a large number of small entrepreneurs. “There may be many innovations coming from the youth and we want to give them that start,” the PS said.
Thursday’s signed agreement follows the successful seminar put on at the beginning of June that saw more than 150 small business owners learn about business incubation from Caribbean and international experts.