The impact of small businesses in a changing economy
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As Guyana’s economy continues to grow, small businesses have been the lifeblood because entrepreneurs have been allowed to create meaningful jobs and foster local economies, allowing
money to stay closer to communities. Small businesses enjoy many advantages that benefit the entrepreneur as well as the customers. These include creativity and the development of entrepreneurial skills through training and mentorship classes when it comes to the creative industry. This is according to one business entrepreneur and proprietor, Deon Jewel Smith, who spoke with Pepperpot Magazine recently. Jewel, who is the owner of a small business which designs floral arrangements for wedding occasions, and other functions of festivity, made the point that there are advantages and disadvantages in the creative sector that would enhance the garnering of revenue to build a stronger economy.

“The disadvantage is materials, because if there is no material you cannot get to do what you want to do, hence material will always be a challenge. Another challenge is a lack of finances. My advantage is that I am creative and I keep my creativity alive and new ideas coming,” she explained. “The new government has already announced a suite of measures that will benefit not just households, but also small businesses. These include reversal of VAT on electricity, water,  machinery and equipment, exports, and materials for the construction sector, among others. These measures will surely improve the viability of small business start-ups and the sustainability of existing businesses,” Jewel said.

Efforts have already being made to create a national entrepreneurship and innovation body to stimulate business development. Guyana’s business culture is changing with every passing day, especially with the advent of the oil-and-gas sector, so, to ensure that entrepreneurs can ‘keep up,’ the government will be establishing a National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Council to
focus on reforming entrepreneurship. The government has already committed to building a modern Guyana with world-class infrastructure that improves connectivity and unlocks the vast potential of the economy. Entrepreneurs are seen as key contributors to this vision, so their ability to “think outside of the box” will be critical, going forward.

It is for this reason that the government has taken a step to establish a council which, they believe, will serve as a conduit for transformation and innovation. These were the sentiments
expressed by President Dr Irfaan Ali most recently during a recent virtual meeting of the American Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM) There is a need for structure for most small businesses
countrywide. “ You will find that a lot of them aren’t registered, people just jump up and run into business, there is also need for business training, NGOs and different avenues where people can access training. Other [than] training, there needs to be the practice of standardised procedure for business operation.

This includes business registration, compliance with the National Insurance Scheme,” Paul Moore, a business journalist told the Pepperpot Magazine. In this light, Moore noted that many of these small business entrepreneurs can be given loans, grants and programmes to help them to become the structured small business and build on training. “We must give kudos to some of the entities that are already helping small businesses and giving training like Cerulean Inc., the Small Business Bureau, etc,  ” Moore added. Recently, 10 clients of the Small Business Bureau
were trained on how to develop their businesses towards meeting international standards while creating more employment.

Lyndell Danzie Black, Director of the Cerulean Incorporated (Guyana) believes that small businesses in Guyana contribute to the economy by bringing growth and innovation, thus the stimulation of economic growth. “ We provide employment opportunities to people who may not be employable by even larger corporations. We are able to work on some of the processes and procedures and even products that  larger corporations would not be able to deal with these things and in that regard contribute to any economic opportunities,” Black said in an interview told Pepperpot Magazine. According to Black, small businesses are normally run by marginalised groups within the economy.

A large percentage of women now are involved in small business development. Black believes that it is the interest of the Government and larger corporations to work with small businesses since they have a significant role to play in the economy. She further noted that small businesses provide stability within the workforce. “In the last couple of years, we have also seen an increase in the number of small businesses, who too are unemployed and what we need to able to do at this time is to commence research and development within the small business sector, so that we
can be able to quote things like the percentage of the workforce that is employed by small businesses,“ Black revealed. The spirit of entrepreneurship among the Guyanese Community is a no
doubt a great plus as it relates to the development of the small business industry, Black concluded.

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