BCCDA training seminar…Regional Chairman urges Guyanese to go back to co-ops
By Samuel Whyte
The Berbice Chamber of Commerce and Development Association (BCCDA), the umbrella organization for trade, commerce and general business in Berbice, yesterday concluded its first ever workshop and training seminar for persons with existing small businesses, potential entrepreneurs and single parents.
The two-day session was held at the Chamber’s office at lot 12 Chapel Street, New Amsterdam, and catered for 35 participants.
Speaking at Wednesday’s opening ceremony, Regional Chairman David Armogan congratulated the BCCDA, of which he is a part, for the initiative and foresight in undertaking such a venture. He opined that the BCCDA has taken a step in the right direction “The private sector plays an important part in any country’s development. Not only the big businesses are important, but the small ones, too, and that is where you come in.” He urged the participants to pay keen attention.
He stated that there are a lot of opportunities available for small businesses to make it, but noted that there must be a plan and that is where activities such as the seminar are pertinent.
Armagon urged those present to form themselves into groups and get back into Cooperatives like before, and in that way, “things will be better and easier to secure financing and access markets”. He mentioned the importance of small businesses and programmes like those for the small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which are popular in different parts of the world, including Brazil, India and Africa. The Regional Chairman took a swipe at the banking sector, stating that some of the interest rates are too high and not business-friendly. He urged the banking sector to look again at some of their loans and work out ways and means in which they can “be a little softer on customers”. He urged for the setting up of an investment bank.
Also speaking at the ceremony was Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Trade, Tourism Industry and Commerce, Dhaneshwar Deonarine. He congratulated the BCCDA for the foresight and initiative and hoped that other such organisations would follow suit. He gave his ministry’s wholehearted support for the venture and encouraged the participants to make full use of the opportunity. He said the seminar was timely. Deonarine also spoke about globalisation and liberalisation and how they have changed the way things are done today.
BCCDA president Imran Sacoor also spoke at the opening and made mention of the
Chamber’s continued drive to develop young entrepreneurs and make an all-out effort to give back to the community. This programme, he said, is just one in a number of community-based initiatives that the chamber has planned for the year.
Sacoor said that a chamber must not only look after itself and members, but also the “small man” and the wider community from where most of its members garner their support. He stated that “A dynamic SME subsector is vital and imperative for the economic development of this and most other countries. Aside from providing opportunities for employment generation, SMEs help to provide effective means of curtailing migration and allow citizens to better the resources available locally.”
He said the programme is another first in the country and promised that the BCCDA will continue to set the pace with initiatives and ideas that will benefit the community. A message sent by President of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Clinton Urling, was also read.
Among the topics covered during the seminar were: Understanding the role of small business, managing a small business (Do and don’ts),understanding the legal and compliance framework, record keeping, constructing and analysing income statements and balance sheets – calculating profitability and forecasting. There was also access financing and previews to areas of lucrative small businesses, how to market their business, (the right placement the right mix), when and how to invest, how to manage finances, and diversifying Among the facilitators were officials from the BCCDA, the Ministry of Trade, Tourism and Industry, the Tourism and Hospitality Authority of Guyana (THAG), bankers, lawyers, personnel from Consumer Affairs, accountants, and personnel from Empretec/Guyana E-Business.
Certificates endorsed by the relevant stakeholders were presented yesterday to the successful participants.