GMSA President wants $300M small business fund doubled


President of the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association (GMSA) Rafeek Khan believes the government’s financial aid to small entrepreneurs, though appreciated, should be re-evaluated and increased.

The Government of Guyana has set aside $300 million for the Small Business Development Fund in the 2023 National Budget.

This sum, Khan says, should be increased.

He told the News Room during an interview on Wednesday that although many small businesses would appreciate the assistance, the money simply cannot cover the many expenses startup businesses have to cover.

It is his request that the sum, which was also offered in 2022, is increased to cushion current setbacks businesses face.

“If you do the math… while it may seem significant with the cost of inflation… when it comes to packaging labeling, product development…the idea here is a larger grant for small businesses would be helpful,” Khan said.

In a bid to deliver on its promise of creating a conducive environment for private sector investment, the government has set aside $584.2 million for the Small Business Bureau and the Small Business Development Fund.

Last year some 1,400 entrepreneurs benefitted from grant financing ranging from $150,000 to $500,000.

Khan believes the role that the Small Business Bureau plays in getting small businesses market ready for the local and international market is cause enough for the allocations to be doubled.

“The point is SBB has a very important role to play in terms of getting more businesses ready in many areas and there’s a cost to do research and development.

“SBB has an important role to play in terms of this so my request is to maybe double what was allocated and I don’t think that is difficult because the budget may have some cushion there to adjust certain areas,” Khan noted.

In fulfilling the mandate of the Small Business Bureau, the focus is not only on financial support, but the bureau is also keen on building the capacity of businesses through training and other development programmes. These are also services that Khan suggests small businesses grasp at the opportunities that are offered.

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