Though only opened for two weeks, Action Invest Caribbean Inc.’s (ACI) new office in neighbouring Suriname has seen overwhelming interest in the areas of training and recruitment of Guyanese living there.
And with an investment of US$2 million, ACI Chairman, Dr. Vishnu Doerga sees the company being a bridge for Surinamese investors looking to enter Guyana’s market.
ACI’s office was established in Emmastraat, Nieuw Nickerie, on February 14 and according to Dr. Doerga, it was the talks of collaboration between Guyana’s President Irfaan Ali and his Surinamese counterpart Chandrikapersaud Santokhi that cemented the move to the Dutch-speaking nation.
In an interview with the News Room on Friday at ACI’s Parade Street, Kingston, Office, Dr. Doerga shared that the advent of oil and gas saw a spike in business interest from countries like Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, the US and Canada and also Suriname.
And with the Dutch-speaking nation being one of Guyana’s closest neighbours and the plans on stream to bridge the two countries, it was only fitting to expand there.
“The major interest was coming from Suriname and we have in excess of over 50,000 Guyanese living there who are wondering what is happening in Guyana, what are the areas to invest and to bring them back home.
“And you would be surprised, when we opened, by the time the news hit, there were people lining up by the office with their CVs in hand and it was amazing to see how many Guyanese were interested in learning about what is happening in Guyana,” he explained.
Being in the business development sector for over 17 years, Dr. Doerga said that one of the challenges faced by investors wanting to expand is that they enter the markets “too late” because they did not have access to the right information.
“Many companies come to us three months, six months, a year after and they now would have lost so much time, energy, and money trying to get ready for Guyana’s market so now we have made it easier,” he added.
One major area of interest seen since the office opened, Dr. Doerga noted, was training in English.
Though Dutch is the official language, many of the companies that exist in Suriname often speak English, presenting a language barrier that the ACI Chairman said hampers investment.
“Many people in Suriname come to us because they realise that they need to know some amount of English to tap into other opportunities that exist there so we have already seen that level of demand,” he added.
Alongside the launch of the ACI Suriname office, Doerga Business Enterprise, owned by Dr. Doerga and the Surinamese sole proprietorship business, Lesarah Trading, owned by Chris Soedamah, who have both traded between Caricom countries for over twenty years merged into a regional company, INTERCARICOM Trade and Logistics N.V. with locations in Guyana and Suriname.
The Nickerie location opened together with ACI and the overarching goal is to allow Guyanese products to serve the Suriname market and vice versa, whilst improving logistics between the two nations.