New expo to focus on investment, trade

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The Government and the private sector today launched the Guyana Trade and Investment Exhibition (GuyTIE), an event which seeks to promote local investment opportunities and foster business-to-business collaborations.

The main players are the Ministry of Business and the Caribbean Export Development Agency. The event will run from September 19th-22nd at the Marriott hotel, Georgetown.

The expo will include small and large companies in the local manufacturing and services sector.

During Wednesday’s launch, Minister of Business Dominic Gaskin expressed his view that GuyExpo was not achieving the outcome the government desired.

“It was successful in its own way but we wanted a model that was more focused on matching exhibitors with potential international buyers and promoting exports and GuyExpo was more of a business to consumer type of event and even though it would have met certain short-term goals, I don’t think it was addressing the long-term economic agenda of our government,” the Minister said.

Minister of Business, Dominic Gaskin

Chief Executive Officer of the Guyana Office for Investment (Go-INVEST), Owen Verwey disclosed that the exposition will include forums that offer training to exhibitors and other participants on trade.

He pointed out that one of the challenges affecting the growth of local products includes the standard of the items produced locally. As such, this will also be addressed during the four-day event.

Chairman of the Private Sector Commission, Eddie Boyer, during his speech said with the advent of oil and gas, Guyana will be attracting more investors and therefore, local businesses need to upgrade their services and products to international standard.

He also told those gathered that “local and foreign contract must be adhered to.”

Chairman of the PSC, Eddie Boyer

Senior Advisor at the Caribbean Export Development Agency on Competitiveness and Export Promotion, Damie Sinanan, one of the key organizations in the planning of the event, also noted that now is the opportune time for Guyana to make a push in the trading arena and international business community.

The platinum sponsors of the event are E-Networks and Demerara Distillers Limited. Other sponsors include Banks DIH, Massy Group, Brass Aluminum Cast Iron Foundry and the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company.

Vishok Persaud, Managing Director of E-Networks, which has been in the services sector for the past 15 years, said the expo is timely, given that Guyana is about to embark on a new economic era, namely the oil and gas.

“It’s encouraging; it gives you a lot to look forward to and we feel very energized when we see events like this,” Persaud stated.

He emphasised the role of the company as a communications developer.

“E-Networks is primarily an internet service provider and a cable TV operator; I think we’re part of many people’s lives from sports to entertainment to movies to relaxation and in the business community.

“We would’ve built the first fibre optic network in Guyana.

“We’re responsible for communications between many agencies, financial institutions, insurance companies, supermarkets- we handle all their local communications internally,” Persaud noted.

Vishok Persaud, Managing Director of E-Networks

More recently, the company launched its satellite service, which Persaud noted.

“(This) pretty much made us countrywide and we’ve also moved to upgrade all our services to high definition and on fibre service; we will now be able to soon offer 4K video,” he stated.

According to Persaud, the company has invested a lot in broadcast and media, operating four TV channels that we operate.

“While we may be a soft service, we see ourselves as effective part in the manufacturing and the producing sector of Guyana.

“We’re part of the system, we’re a communications developer to get their network going, communicate externally and we can also help to promote online presence with our media division, our channels, advertising and marketing,” he stated.

He said the company has never been afraid to be Guyanese.

“A lot of the time we take for granted that certain things can only be done by foreign companies,” Persaud stated, but noted that E-Networks was “living proof” that local companies can invest and be successful.

However, he noted the need still for partnerships.

“There’s a difference between completely outsourcing persons and partnering and I think we should promote partnerships with foreign entities so that we can get those resources, human capital and all the tools necessary to enhance our own local companies,” he told those gathered.

GuyTIE will target buyers and investors from CARICOM, United States, Canada, European Union and Latin America.

Objectives:

  • To promote packaged local investment opportunities for FDI and local investment.
  • To prepare and promote export-ready firms to export markets.
  • To highlight Guyana as a destination for business.

Exhibitors:  Large multinational firms to SMEs in both the manufacturing and services sector in Guyana.

Markets: The event will target buyers and investors from select target markets (CARICOM, U.S., Canada, EU and Latin America) as well as priority sectors (based on exhibitors) to attend.

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