More money, training & market access – Walrond talks up small business development in Budget 2022

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A sum of $300 million has been allocated to the Small Business Development Fund in Budget 2022 but Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce Oneidge Walrond says that there is a much wider focus on holistic small business development as well.

The $300 million allocated to the fund is an increase to the $200 million allocated last year, Walrond pointed out. And last year, some 746 small business owners from the various administrative regions were able to access the money.

Walrond highlighted that these finances allowed those business owners to startup operations or in some cases, expand their businesses despite the harsh economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now, the minister posited that there is a stronger focus on advancing small business development efforts now.

“Our vision for the small business sector extends beyond finances,” Walrond emphasised during her budget debate presentation in the National Assembly on Monday.

According to her, the allocations made in Budget 2022 will allow the government to provide training to numerous small business owners. Efforts are also being made to provide easily accessible markets for the products produced and services offered.

While presenting the 2022 National Budget last week, Finance Minister Dr. Ashni Singh announced that the government will establish an e-commerce marketplace to market goods and services. Previously, it was announced that the government will create an online site, similar to the internationally-known Amazon website.

Walrond highlighted that these initiatives are all part of a concerted effort at promoting small business development and empowering more Guyanese.

She reminded members of the House that the government, since assuming office in 2020, has already instituted a suite of measures geared at fostering small business development. These include eliminating “burdensome requirements” that hindered small businesses from bidding from contracts.

Meanwhile, on Monday, during an interview with the News Room, the Director of Business and Entrepreneur Development at the Small Business Bureau (SBB) John Edghill said that the government intends to expand its reach in 2022.

Director of Business and Entrepreneur Development at the Small Business Bureau (SBB) John Edghill

“We want to ensure growth in every single region.

“Region Nine with its 20,000 people deserve that kind of intervention and all the other regions,” Edghill emphasised.

To facilitate this and with more than 1,000 small businesses already registered at the Bureau, the Director also noted that one-stop shops are planned for every region this year.

These one-stop shops allow business owners to register their business, apply for NIS or GRA compliance and apply for Small Business grants and loans.

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