Former Business Minister, Girls + Tech founder among Small Business Council appointees

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Government has announced that the Small Business Council will now be headed by former Business Minister Dominic Gaskin, who stepped down from his post earlier this year by virtue of being a dual citizen.

Gaskin, who is also a United Kingdom (UK) citizen, was appointed as Director of Manufacturing and Marketing within the Business Ministry with responsibility for the enforcement of standards, providing assistance to small producers and access to markets, particularly Eastern Caribbean markets.

The former Minister takes over from previous chair and Jamaican businesswoman Valerie Grant. Other members of the Council include local entrepreneur and founder of Girls + Tech, Evie Gurcharran.

Former Business Minister, Dominic Gaskin

Gurcharran, who also manages Java café and is a former participant in the United States sponsored Young Leaders of the Americas (YLAI) professional fellows programme, uses girl + tech to get more women involved in the Information Communication Technology (ICT) sector.

Local entrepreneur and founder of Girls + Tech, Evie Gurcharran

Meanwhile, the Council will have representatives from the Business Ministry; Finance Ministry; and the Linden, West Berbice, Essequibo and Region Three Chambers of Commerce. Also present on the council are representatives from the Bankers Association; the Institute of Private Enterprise Development (IPED); the Chief Executive Officer of the Small Business Bureau (SBB); a youth representative and Dason Anthony.

Loans

At the ‘Micro and Small Enterprise Development and Building Alternative Livelihoods for Vulnerable’ Project last year, it was revealed that some 199 loans and 545 grants were handed out worth over $600 million.

This was related by the Small Business Bureau (SBB) Credit Guarantee Fund Manager Gillian Edwards, during the closing ceremony of the programme.

According to her, “We were able to do loans in eight of the 10 regions … so we did a total of 199 loans of a value of $695 million… for grants, our original target was 300 grants and because we shifted funds from the intro-subsidy, which was largely unused for that, we exceeded our target and to date, because we are still disbursing some who just had part disbursement; so far, 545 grants to the value of $163 million.”

Among the 100 programmes tied into the five-year project were training sessions with small business owners in the areas of business management, cosmetology and others.

Persons from across the 10 administrative regions benefited from the US$5 million project, with aid from the Inter-American Development Bank and several banking entities in the country.

A number of trainers, including Action Coach, also participated in giving their services to train persons in different areas.

A few beneficiaries of not only training but loans had expressed how helpful the programme was to them.

One woman who disclosed that she not only benefited from a loan but the training programme in cosmetology said, “I will say that I have benefited greatly from the programme, because I got the grant which moved me from baking in a four burner oven to having an oven now that can hold 300 chickens at one time to bake.”

A farmer had also shared that he now produced about 4000 chickens when he used to only be able to rear 300 at a time.

Government has announced that the Small Business Council will now be headed by former Business Minister Dominic Gaskin, who stepped down from his post earlier this year by virtue of being a dual citizen.

Gaskin, who is also a United Kingdom (UK) citizen, was appointed as Director of Manufacturing and Marketing within the Business Ministry with responsibility for the enforcement of standards, providing assistance to small producers and access to markets, particularly Eastern Caribbean markets.

The former Minister takes over from previous chair and Jamaican businesswoman Valerie Grant. Other members of the Council include local entrepreneur and founder of Girls + Tech, Evie Gurcharran.

Gurcharran, who also manages Java café and is a former participant in the United States sponsored Young Leaders of the Americas (YLAI) professional fellows programme, uses girl + tech to get more women involved in the Information Communication Technology (ICT) sector.

Meanwhile, the Council will have representatives from the Business Ministry; Finance Ministry; and the Linden, West Berbice, Essequibo and Region Three Chambers of Commerce. Also present on the council are representatives from the Bankers Association; the Institute of Private Enterprise Development (IPED); the Chief Executive Officer of the Small Business Bureau (SBB); a youth representative and Dason Anthony.

Loans

At the ‘Micro and Small Enterprise Development and Building Alternative Livelihoods for Vulnerable’ Project last year, it was revealed that some 199 loans and 545 grants were handed out worth over $600 million.

This was related by the Small Business Bureau (SBB) Credit Guarantee Fund Manager Gillian Edwards, during the closing ceremony of the programme.

According to her, “We were able to do loans in eight of the 10 regions … so we did a total of 199 loans of a value of $695 million… for grants, our original target was 300 grants and because we shifted funds from the intro-subsidy, which was largely unused for that, we exceeded our target and to date, because we are still disbursing some who just had part disbursement; so far, 545 grants to the value of $163 million.”

Among the 100 programmes tied into the five-year project were training sessions with small business owners in the areas of business management, cosmetology and others.

Persons from across the 10 administrative regions benefited from the US$5 million project, with aid from the Inter-American Development Bank and several banking entities in the country.

A number of trainers, including Action Coach, also participated in giving their services to train persons in different areas.

A few beneficiaries of not only training but loans had expressed how helpful the programme was to them.

One woman who disclosed that she not only benefited from a loan but the training programme in cosmetology said, “I will say that I have benefited greatly from the programme, because I got the grant which moved me from baking in a four burner oven to having an oven now that can hold 300 chickens at one time to bake.”

A farmer had also shared that he now produced about 4000 chickens when he used to only be able to rear 300 at a time.