Thousands to benefit from $1.8B gov’t support for small businesses


The government is hoping to stimulate small business development across the country by doling out about $1.8 billion in financial support to thousands of small business owners. 

This is according to Vice President Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo who said the sizable sum is being disbursed through two avenues: a revamped Sustainable Livelihoods and Entrepreneurial Development (SLED) programme and the Small Business Bureau (SBB) grant programme managed by the Ministry of Tourism, Industry and Commerce. 

“For SLED, the cap is $200,000. So you should be able to target 4000/ 5000 persons,” Dr. Jagdeo told reporters at an engagement on Wednesday. 

And for the small business grant programme, he noted that there are about 700 to 800 outstanding applicants. Each person will benefit from some amount of grant funding, he disclosed. 

The Vice President noted that the government has already started giving out relatively small grants to business owners in Region Four (Demerara- Mahaica). Soon, the programme will be extended to other regions. 

And he believes that this time around, the process of getting the money is much simpler. 

“We cut down on the onerous process of the application process but we also cut down the sum of it. 

“… There is a screening process taking place by the region,” Dr. Jagdeo said. 

Importantly, the Vice President knocked allegations that the government only promised these grants to secure votes at the recent Local Government Elections. According to him, the government is keen on distributing these funds and providing some amount of support to small business owners. 

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