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Time for big businesses to stop Googling and buy from local businesses- GCCI, GTT

Last Updated on Saturday, 9 April 2022, 9:00 by Denis Chabrol

The President of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), Timothy Tucker on Friday night singled out the need not only for major lobbying efforts for small business financing but also for big businesses to buy from their smaller counterparts to allow them to grow.

He issued the appeal at the launch of that city business organisation’s National Small Business Week. “”Access to finance, access to land…The issues that small businesses face, and are not unique to Guyana alone, and it’s important that we develop and we fight for the development of the things and the support services for small businesses so that we can grow them,” he said at the official launch held at Herdmanston Lodge.

Mr. Tucker welcomed the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph’s (GTT) support for the National Small Business Week initiative and urged that company as well as other big businesses to buy from local small businesses such as manufacturers and suppliers. “That is really how you can support small businesses by looking inward…The first thing is you go Google and see who does this. How about call the Chamber and we will direct you to the members that can support you,” said.

The event is being held under the theme “Shop Small For A Big Impact”.

GTT’s Chief Operations Officer (Business Solutions), Orson Ferguson said his company was quote aware of the economic importance of small businesses. “We understand that no economy thrives without a vibrant small business segment or sector. It is clear that our collective success is tied to the success of small businesses and we have to do all that we can to support these small businesses,” he said.

He said that GTT’s partnership with GCCI  to realise the National Small Business Week became a strategic priority for his company in a “leadership role” rather than merely “writing a cheque.” Mr. Ferguson said the idea was to create an opportunity for networking on Friday night and the Business Expo slated for Saturday at Parc Rayne, East Bank Demerara.

Marketing and Research Officer at the Guyana government’s Small Business Bureau, Shamane Headley said The Marketing and Research Officer said during this year the Small Business Bureau would be facilitating the small business procurement programme which facilitates access to 20 percent of all government procurement by approved small businesses. “This programme supports Guyanese SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises) greater shares of public procurement through capacity building and direct access to public procurement opportunities from the Government of Guyana’s ministries and agencies,” he said.

She said that during 2021, for the first time since its establishment, 746 small business grants had been disbursed. At the end of 2021, 768 small businesses accessed small business support valued GY$377 million in grants, loans and sponsorship.

Ms. Headley said the Bureau’s assistance helped to create 1,323 jobs across Guyana.

Official figures shows that the Guyana government in 2022 has $300 million to the small business fund to support 800 additional small businesses. “This has been the largest amount allocated in history of the Bureau,” she said.

Chief Executive Officer of the Guyana Office for Investment (GO-Invest), Dr Peter Ramsaroop noted, for example, that there are small business opportunities for 2,000 hotel rooms by 2025 with international brands. Opportunities, he said, could include fresh fruits and vegetables, laundry and other types of labour.

He urged Guyanese to stop seeing themselves as victims but draft a plan to go out and grab opportunities from big companies as well as incentives that GO-Invest is offering. “There is no limit of where a small business can head to. There are no restrictions. Government and our President are very committed to our private sector,” he said.