THE Small Business Bureau (SBB) and the Ministry of Tourism, Industry and Commerce presented a $150,000 cash grant to over two dozen small business owners in Region Two last December.
The owners of grocery, electronics, clothing, jewellery stores and poultry farms have used the funds to restart their operations that were halted for several reasons, including the COVD-19 pandemic.
Some recipients of the grant told the Guyana Chronicle that the support they received has helped them to sustain their business operations.
Jaikarran Persaud, one of the grocery store owners at Devonshire Castle, said that the grant has helped him to restart his business since it was severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to him: “The grant has helped me a lot, because due to the COVID-19, the shop had run down a lot. I am thankful for the great help that the government and the small business bureau are giving to the small men who are trying to do their business. The business is doing well so far and I am happy about that.”
Persaud also encouraged other small business owners to take the opportunity and apply for the grants whenever it becomes available to them.
A boutique owner at the Charity Market, Audrey Reid, said that she sells adult and children’s clothing and footwear, but she was stressed and frustrated because she wanted to enhance the structure of her business and elevate it so as to avoid any flooding when it rains.
Reid related that she heard of the grant for small business owners and applied, but she received her call in early January of this year.
“I am very, very thankful for the $150,000. It has boosted my business and it has helped me tremendously to raise the floor of my boutique, which was too flat and several times I carried a lot of losses and got damaged goods. When the rain falls now, I do not get water inside and that is a very good thing.
“I had some money left over, so I invested it in footwear. It may not seem like a lot of money, but it was a plus and a great help to me and the others, I am sure. I would like to say thanks to the government for this initiative. It is a kind gesture from them, and it feels good to know that they are thinking about us and small business people. I thank God that they have done this and enhanced the growth of our business in every way possible,” she said.
Finally, the Guyana Chronicle spoke with Keiza Wells, a cosmetologist and the owner of Glamz Beauty Studio in Charity Riverdam, who said: “The grant from SBB and the government was a great help for me and my business. I collected mine in January of this year and I used the money to purchase products and some small equipment that I needed for my studio.”
Wells also added that all the people that she knew who applied for the grants were successful in getting through with it.
She also said that the grant came at a time when it was much needed for small businesses, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic. According to her, people needed help and the government delivered.