New Canadian-funded project to boost entrepreneurship
Authorities in Regions Two, Three, Four and Six will soon be equipped to provide information and training to residents who are interested in establishing and expanding businesses, thanks to the Canadian International Development Agency.
The Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development on Thursday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities for the implementation of the Caribbean Local Economic Development (CARILED) Programme. This is expected to enhance economic development at the local level.
According to CARILED Programme Director Dr. Naresh Singh, to make the venture successful, entrepreneurs will not be given a grant; instead they will be provided with necessary tools and equipment. In addition, Regional Democratic Councils, with enhanced capacities and Local Economic Development Officers, will be able to assist individuals, for instance, in the creation of business proposals to access loans from financial institutions.
“There is some degree of challenge in this work, because traditionally, business has not turned to local Government for this type of support. This project takes into account the recognition around the world that small, medium and micro enterprises very often fail, because they do not have the institutional back-up and support that is required to nurture them in the early phases,” Dr. Singh said.
He disclosed that the figure among small businesses is approximately 80 to 90 percent, and added “the project will therefore seek to develop the capacities of Local Government, Regional Development, Regional Democratic Councils and the Neighbourhood Democratic Council, to be able to provide information if small and medium businesses are puzzled where there might be a market for a particular project”.
He noted that in areas where other organizations are executing similar projects, CARILED will collaborate to prevent duplication of resources.
According to Canadian Ambassador to Guyana, David Devine, this project is especially important because economic growth in the Caribbean has slowed due to economic slowdown in key markets, global financial crises, natural disasters, high food and fuel prices, and the increasing need to better respond to the effects of globalization.
The envoy noted that CARILED will be rolled out in 14 countries across the Caribbean region in multiple phases. “We are heartened to see Guyana giving its commitment to be in the first phase, which will demonstrate that local economic development works,” Devine said.
According to Local Government Minister, Ganga Persaud, “We in Guyana are enthused that many of our sister countries in the Caribbean will be part of this programme. At the financial level it is a partnership between Governments, at the level of the Caribbean it is a partnership that involves a lot of stakeholders such as the CARICOM Local Government Ministers’ Forum as well as the Commonwealth Local Government Forum.”
He noted that locally the intervention of this programme over the next six years will further empower entrepreneurs across Guyana. It will be expanded to other regions.
“This project, small as it may be, is a novelty under this Ministry. We had similar economic empowerment programmes in Guyana, for example in Region 10, but it was driven by the Ministry of Finance,” Persaud noted.