Small business owners benefit from approximately $20M grants

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Minister of Tourism (ag) Irfaan Ali addressing the gathering at the Tourism Ministry’s first Grant Awards  and partnership ceremony
Minister of Tourism (ag) Irfaan Ali addressing the gathering at the Tourism Ministry’s first Grant Awards and partnership ceremony

[www.inewsguyana.com] – The Ministry of Tourism, Industry and Commerce, through its Small Business Bureau (SBB) theld its first ever Grant Award and Partnership ceremony on Friday, January 30 at which over 60 small business owners benefitted from financial aid.

Approximately $20M was disbursed in the form of grants, under the Micro and Small Enterprises (MSE) Development and Building Alternative Livelihoods for Vulnerable Groups’ project.

There are several conditions that have to be met before a client can benefit. These include having a registered small business as defined by the Small Business Act, and must be compliant with National Insurance Scheme (NIS) and Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA).

This project was launched in October 2013, and according to Minister of Tourism (ag) Irfaan Ali, it has created jobs for 167 persons, while 900 others benefited from training. Also 18 persons were able to access a low interest (6% per annum) mutual guarantee facility, to the tune of $95M.    
The Minister, who was at the time addressing the gathering of stakeholders, students from various secondary schools, and members of the diplomatic corps, at the Guyana International Conference Centre (GICC), said that small businesses play a very critical role, in the growth of the economy. He said that “nationally you know that there are many small businesses that contribute to the creation of employment and the expansion and development of the economy.”

He lauded the programmes which have been providing financing to small businesses including the Women of Worth (WOW) programme of the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security and which has been empowering women, through entrepreneurship and the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS).

Minister of Tourism (ag) Irfaan Ali addressing the gathering at the Tourism Ministry’s first Grant Awards  and partnership ceremony
Minister of Tourism (ag) Irfaan Ali addressing the gathering at the Tourism Ministry’s first Grant Awards and partnership ceremony

The SBB received US$10M from the Guyana Government through its LCDS/Redd+Investment Fund, GRIF facility to be utilised over a four-year period toward funding, and comprehensive training of small business entrepreneurs.

The Minister also highlighted the need for mobilisation of small businesses into sectors to target larger markets.

The ceremony also saw the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding, among the SBB and the Deeds Registry, Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA), the National Insurance Scheme (NIS), and the Republic Bank among others. [Extracted and modified from GINA]

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