Students get grants to start businesses
Jameel Jacobs, a student of the Guyana Industrial Training Centre (GITC) on Monday received $100,000 from the Small Business Bureau (SBB) to launch his furniture repairs workshop.
Jacobs along with another student, Taariq Collymore, was selected from a group of 10 students who participated in an entrepreneurship competition held by the SBB this year. Each student was required to submit a project proposal.
Collymore also received $100,000 to set up a mechanic shop but he was not at the GITC for the handing over ceremony on Monday morning.
Jacobs spoke with the media about his project. He noted that after conducting research, he found that most furniture stores do not repair broken items forcing owners to dispose of them.
As such, he came up with the idea of a furniture repair shop which he was confident will win the support of the judges of the competition.
“Most companies in Guyana do not repair furniture, they just make furniture and if it damage, you can’t get it replaced, so my idea was repairing furniture and doing small furniture item,” he said.
“I know I would’ve won because my idea is different,” he added.
Jacobs said he will begin looking for customers. In the coming year, he will be expanding his business.
As a startup, the GITC will be providing the students with the space needed to conduct their business.
Dexter Cornette, Administrator of the GITC said, “What we have decided to do is to have what is called the incubator system, that is where persons who have received their grants, is given guidance, coaching and mentorship by the Small Business Bureau and the GITC in order to ensure that the business not just start but maintain and is being successful throughout the years and they develop it.”
Entrepreneurship is a subject taught at the GITC along with Welding, Masonry, Plumbing, Motor Vehicle Repairs, Furniture Making, Electrical Installation, Data Operations and Metal Work Engineering.
The grants were handed over by Shamane Headley, Research and Marketing Officer of the Small Business Bureau.
She noted that the GITC is the first tertiary institution to benefit from such grants.
“There are lots of children, there are lots of young adolescents who are about to leave school or are still in school that have business ideas but the complaint is ‘no one is there to support those ideas,” she said explaining the need for the project.
Headley disclosed that the agency began its In-School Entrepreneurship programme in 2017 which saw 104 students being awarded $100,000 grants that year and 100 in 2018.