THIRTY-EIGHT persons are now able to start their own small businesses after they would have received business training and grants valued at US$1,500 each from the Small Business Bureau (SBB).
SBB Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Dr. Lowell Porter, told the Guyana Chronicle that the 38 participants were the first batch of Guyanese who would have benefitted from the bureau’s Citizens Security Strengthening Programme (CSSP).
The participants, who received weeks of training in small business management; techniques in marketing and sales; business challenges; inter alia, have presented business plans to the SBB as part of the programme.
As part of the CSSP, these plans were tested and subsequently approved, allowing the participants to receive financing to kick-start their businesses.
Dr. Porter related that the SBB has found that businesses fail because people are not equipped to efficiently and effectively manage them.
“We believe that if you train them in the right way, we will be seeing more successful, creative and innovative stuff coming out there and the bottomline is that we want to make sure that businesses survive,” he said.
The CEO noted that some of the participants were at-risk youth and women and what the SBB aimed to do was provide an avenue for those persons to find an “alternative livelihood”.
Moving forward, he said the participants are encouraged to become clients of the SBB so that they would be able to benefit from the myriad services offered. Here, he explained that if they encounter challenges in managing their business, those persons could be helped.
“We do a lot of ‘hand-holding’, coaching and mentoring, just to help persons move along,” he said, adding: “If there is great synergy between businesses out there and the SBB, where they work together, there will be more successful entrepreneurs.”
One participant of the programme was 19-year-old Daniel Gouveia. The young man told this newspaper that he hopes to start up a fashion designing business, using the training and the grant he received from the SBB.
“I’ve had a rough past but my dream is to make people happy and I think designing clothes would be able to make people happy,” the young man said, noting that “The training helped me to be motivated and strong to reach my goals.”
The US$1,500 grant, which is approximately $312,000, will be used by the young man to purchase the materials needed to start designing. Once he has done that, he will use what he has learnt through the weeks of training to then market those products and earn an income for himself.
Rafeena Ali, on the other hand, will be using the grant to start up her poultry business, an avenue she believes she will be successful in.
“Thing that I never really knew about business I learnt here and so I think it is a very good thing that is being done,” Ali said.
Ali’s sentiments were echoed by hairstylist, Shanna Hughes, who will be seeking to expand her business through the grant received and using the knowledge garnered from the training.
For her, the most beneficial part of the programme was that she was able to garner ‘one-on-one’ assistance that was tailored specifically to her ‘B’ Field Sophia business.