TO further provide opportunities for Guyanese to grow their small businesses, government has announced that $300 million will be injected into the Small Business Development Fund.
The Small Business Bureau (SBB) in 2021 distributed 746 small business development grants to the tune of $329 million, of which 61 were COVID-19 relief grants valued at $13.4 million.
Minister in the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh, announced the allocation during his presentation of the 2022 budget to the National Assembly on Wednesday.
He noted that the fund is instrumental in building capacity in the local business community and serves to enhance the capacity of small business owners to effectively develop and manage their businesses.
He said that in addition to the fund, government intends to provide training for small business owners in areas such as business management, record keeping and business plan writing.
The plan, according to Dr. Singh, is to establish through the SBB, an e-commerce marketplace for small businesses to market goods and services which will, no doubt, support their resilience and help to maintain and increase revenue.
Further, he noted that government intends to bolster its small business support, through six small business ‘one stop shops,’ across Regions One, Five, Six, Seven, Eight and Nine, which are expected to target 500 persons.
“We will also continue our efforts to improve the ease of doing business through the digitisation of the licensing process, in addition to development of an online platform for communication with the public and the provision of training to businesses in leveraging technology,” Dr. Singh added.
Meanwhile, he noted that government intends to provide small business owners with easier access to the requisite knowledge on how to maximise business opportunities. In this regard, government in 2022 will move to design an electronic single window for trade.
According to Dr. Singh, the initiative will result in the development and deployment of a single-entry point to fulfil all import, export and transit-related regulatory requirements aimed at modernising and improving the efficiency of trade operations in Guyana, in support of increasing business activity.
Alongside this, he said that there will be a comprehensive review of the business processes for all trade related agencies, as well as the acquisition of the necessary IT equipment to facilitate the roll out of the single window.