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Poor small business owners receive training, funding

Minister of Business, Dominic Gaskin in the presence of Chile’s Ambassador to Guyana, Claudio Rachel Rojas and United Nations (UN) representative, Reuben Robertson and beneficiaries of the Enhancing the Economic Livelihood of the Poor (EELP) during the handing over ceremony at the Ministry of Business, South Road.

Several poor persons, who possess rich small-business ideas ,were Thursday given an opportunity to realize their dreams through a GUY$10 million grant.

Provided through the ‘Enhancing the Economic Livelihood of Poor in Guyana’ programme, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) handed out GUY$1 million each to 10 micro-entrepreneurs who impressed the donors with their business proposals. The grant recipients were first trained before they were given the monies.

The scheme, which was inherited by the new government from the previous People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC)-led administration, attracted financing from Chile to help stamp out extreme hunger and poverty in selected rural communities.

A total of US$200,000  from Chile has been earmarked for the project which includes three components: supporting Guyana through South-South Policy dialogue, policies for reducing poverty, support micro-business and small industries in selected rural communities and identifying alternative coping strategies for the poor.

Acting UNDP Representative in Guyana, Reuben Robertson expects the project would help improve food and security and nutrition.

“It is our hope that these grants will improve livelihoods and increase household incomes for the beneficiaries and their dependents. It is hoped that the grants will change the lives of the women and the men from the various regions represented here today,” said Robertson.

Targeted beneficiaries are women, unemployed, youths, and graduate apprentices.

Later he would explain that the beneficiaries of the grant are made up of “entrepreneurial poor defined as the rural poor who had some business potential and who had some potential and who, if supported could promote self-employment and micro enterprises,” Robertson also noted that disadvantaged women, unemployed and underemployed youth and graduate apprentices were targeted were targeted under the project.

Minister of Business, Dominic Gaskin and Chile’s Ambassador to Guyana, Claudio Rojas urged them to make good use of the funds in realizing their dreams.

“You have been given an opportunity that most micro and small businesses will never have, and I want to urge you to spare no effort in developing your businesses into successful models so that we can showcase this project to other international partners as a viable measure for achieving poverty reduction and rural economic development,” said Gaskin.

Of the 42 applications that were received by the Business Ministry, 10 were approved. The beneficiaries are; Violet Pierre, of Sister’s Village, who is involved in aquaculture;  Liselle Somwaru of Bagotville, poultry rearing; Zoey Williams of Nismes, poultry rearing ; Sherene Neils of  Linden, wholesale fish and meat; Christopher Seunarine  of Bath Settlement- cash crop farming, Lokesh Gopee of Cotton Tree Berbice, a plant shop; Kelvin Sewlall also of  Bath Settlement, cash crop; Richard Lewis of Mocha, plantain and banana farm; Rohini Mangar of Cotton Field, Essequibo Coast,  farming different varieties of bananas; and Loretta Culley of  Nabaclis, poultry farming.