“I see myself in a role that will allow me to develop Guyana at a faster rate …the ultimate goal is to use my skills to help transform Guyana’s economy from a developing country to a first world country one business at a time…”
Helping to transform Guyana’s economy one business at a time…
By Rehanna Ramsay
Kaieteur News – If you own a business in Guyana or the diaspora, chances are you have heard of Dr. Vishnu Doerga. Dr. Doerga is one of the nation’s leading entrepreneurs and business development coaches whose entrepreneurship journey began when he was just 19 years old.
Today, at age 41, Dr. Doerga is the founder of Action Invest Caribbean (AIC) Inc.—Guyana‘s premier business development/coaching facility and boasts a professional portfolio that exerts his wealth of experience in the entrepreneurial and economic spheres.
Having held prominent roles within the private sector, including President of the Upper Corentyne Chamber of Commerce as well as Head of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), this week’s ‘Special Person’ has certainly used his efforts to impact the local business community.
As former Chairman of the Guyana National Bureau of Standards (GNBS) and former Vice-Chair of the Guyana Office for Investment (GOINVEST) he has had a similar influence in the public sector. Combined, Dr. Doerga has in excess of 20 years of experience in roles that provide support to Guyanese businesses.
Added to his working knowledge, Dr. Doerga is also qualified in his field, holding a Ph.D. in management and specialising in entrepreneurship as well as an MBA and a Diploma in Engineering.
Additionally, he has numerous local and international awards for his role in business leadership, some of which include the BizX 2020 Best Business Speaker and Most Influential Business Guru awards and the GCCI’s 2011 Young Business Executive Award.
However, the business development coach regards none of his professional attributes as high as his advocacy and coaching capabilities. It’s these platforms that, he says, offer him the leverage he needs to make a lasting imprint on the business community.
So far, he has done exactly that, ever so often offering advice and pointing his fellow entrepreneurs and his clients in the direction of growth and success.
In fact, many of his clients are successful business owners and have testimonials of how their businesses have developed and expanded based on the professional coaching capabilities of Dr. Doerga and his expert team at ACI.
In his capacity as Chairman of the business development institute, Dr. Doerga is constantly working to help other business people be the best version of themselves.
He told Kaieteur News, “I see myself in a role that will allow me to develop Guyana at a faster rate …the ultimate goal is to use my skills to help transform Guyana’s economy from a developing country to a first world country one business at a time…”
While Dr. Doerga is often credited for helping to steer businesses in the direction of success with his professional guidance and advice, he has certainly benefited throughout his career from similar words of wisdom.
He told this publication that while business and education run in his family, he has received some of the best mentorship and advice from his grandparents and uncle, Turhane Doerga.
Indeed, family is important to Dr. Doerga. This is evident in the love and commitment he shows to his wife of over 20 years, Mrs. Davitri Doerga, and their daughter Divya. The businessman revealed that while building a legacy of his own is important, he comes from a bloodline that created the blueprint for the successes he has attained today.
“I was born in Suriname and grew up there with grandparents from the age of nine years…my paternal grandparents were in the agriculture and trading businesses for over 100 years and on my maternal side, my grandmother was into education, she actually owned a school. I lived above that school in Nickerie, Suriname,” Dr. Doerga shared of his upbringing. He noted that his grandparents mentored him until he was 14 years old then when he moved to Guyana, his uncle, an astute Guyanese businessman, took over that role.
“Uncle Turhane has been my mentor for a very long time. I remember when I first started my engineering company at 19 years old. I didn’t have a lot of money to invest and I was seeking a loan and I couldn’t get the money to borrow from the banks… he gave me the best piece of advice… he told me ‘work on building your credibility; if you commit to something, do it and once you develop and establish yourself as a credible person you wouldn’t have to worry about loans again’ and he was correct,” explained Dr. Doerga.
He noted too that it was this very uncle that gave him his first job. “On my first day on the job I met my wife, she worked there, her beautiful face was the first face I saw when I opened the door,” he said.
Given the entrepreneurial heritage, Doerga was not an average teenager. After a short period of working with a local engineering company, the young professional had acquired enough skills to launch out on his own. At the age of 19, he established his first company – Doerga Business Enterprise.
He told Kaieteur News that the business started on February 14, 2000, after he realised that he had the capacity to add a lot more value to those he served. He revealed that after starting the company, his wife quit her job six months later and joined him.
By the age of 27, Dr. Doerga was able to retire as head of the company, leaving it in the capable hands of his wife and business partner. He went on to focus on his investment role in the private and public sector
Reflecting on their achievements, Dr. Doerga said, “Together with our teams, we have achieved my business and personal success. We started as an engineering supply company and evolved into a nationwide distribution company with our own branded products.”
At this juncture of his life, the happily married father of one, said that he finds gratification in strong family values and taking care of his physical, mental, and spiritual health. He shared that “seeing my daughter grow into her own, a confident, intelligent young professional, who in her own right is achieving great success with her companies at the age of 20, is by far my greatest accomplishment.”
He is very passionate about the personal, professional, and organisational development of the numerous organisations he supports.
Prior to launching ACI, Dr. Doerga saw the need for a facility that offered business development training. He became intentional about filling the gap and purchased an international franchise from Action Coach—a globally recognised business development coaching brand and went to work.
To date, the company, which started in 2014, offers individuals and entities step-by-step techniques on how to manifest their success goals with the assistance of experienced and accomplished business trainers and coaches.
Under the auspices of Dr. Doerga and his equally dedicated team of over 12 staffers, ActionCOACH Guyana became the only International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) 9001:2015 certified educational institution and business development company in the nation.
The coaching franchise falls under the umbrella of ACI Inc. which is also ISO 9001:2015 certified and provides quality mentorship and training to over 500 local business owners, executives, managers and staff, offering them the insight and training they need to achieve their set goals.
The company, which is headquartered at Parade Street, Kingston, Georgetown, also offers similar services to Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and governmental agencies.
Among its host of services, ActionCOACH offers leadership development, corporate training, and behavioural assessment reports for personal and business growth.
According to Dr. Doerga, the company has been helping to drive the local economy by being directly or indirectly responsible for the pursuit of innovative ideas and business strategies, which help to create new jobs in Guyana.
Via its website, the company displays testimonials of individuals in the micro, medium, and large-scale companies that have experienced the positive impact and growth using its service.
Among those featured, is the charismatic proprietor of private school, Camille’s Academy, Ms. Camille Deokie. The teacher-turned entrepreneur spoke of her concerns about how her institute would survive when the COVID-19 pandemic caused the closure of businesses and schools in 2020.
However, with the intellectual capacity and networking support ActionCOACH brought to the table, her business was able to achieve in one year what was planned for three years – in spite of the pandemic.
“The things we accomplished in a short period of time – growth, systemising the business, time management, goal setting, working towards ISO certification – justified the partnership with ActionCOACH,” Deokie said.
The private school Director is now the owner of an academy that boasts four locations including the first (digitised) SMART school on the West Coast of Demerara.
She is now more confident than ever that Camille Academy will have a key role in offering training and educational opportunities as Guyana’s oil and gas industry booms.
Much like Camille’s Academy, ActionCoach boasts thousands of individuals who have been directly impacted by its services, resulting in clarity and growth.
According to its website, through its business coaching, chief executive officers (CEOs), managers and those in leadership positions can get the freedom and lifestyle they sought when they first went into business for themselves.
Dr. Doerga said that ACI is focused on becoming the Caribbean’s solution to professional and organisational growth through its action-oriented team delivering targeted business development services to entrepreneurial individuals and organisations.
“We also pursued an international joint venture in 2018 thereby establishing NSB Omega Guyana, a global technical staffing and recruiting company which now serves the major operator and dozens of other medium and large companies operating here,” he added.
Apart from building a legacy with his ActionCoach team, Dr. Doerga has had a chief role in helping to develop and promote several other ventures which provide skills training and other entrepreneurial opportunities.
One of which includes the HERVenture mobile learning app which provides free on-the-go training to help female entrepreneurs in Guyana grow their businesses. The app, which was founded by the UK-based Cherie Blair Foundation, launched in Guyana last September and has moved rapidly towards its target of reaching 3000 Guyanese women in business.
Another one of Dr. Doerga’s initiatives is the publication of the Who’s Who in Business Directory—a first of its kind in Guyana— which offers local and international investors a glimpse of what Guyanese businesses have to offer, opening the door for their potential partnerships, growth, and expansion.
The third edition of the Who’s Who in Business Directory was launched last November. The 138-page magazine features over 70 businesses from 14 key sectors and has over 10,000 hard copies which will be distributed as well as an online platform www.whoswho.gy, where featured businesses showcase their products and services. He said the idea is one way of promoting local content.
“The idea for this came about in 2007 when we were looking for ways to tell the story of the business. I remember when I worked in Trinidad where they have their own Who’s Who publication, I really liked the concept… So I bought the franchise to ensure Guyanese businesses have a database and platform to be seen,” he explained.
While he is constantly exploring ways to grow business in Guyana, the development specialist also seeks to share his knowledge with the next generation of potential entrepreneurs and professionals.
To this end, Dr. Doerga and his ACI team have dedicated some time and resources to supporting ‘The Youth In Entrepreneurship’, a global youth entrepreneurship cause, by training children, youth entrepreneurs at no cost.
He said, “We have been doing so by delivering free monthly training sessions for the past seven years and have trained thousands of youths over time.”
When he is not working or focusing on his projects, Dr. Doerga enjoys spending quality time with his family. He shared, “I love going to dinner with my family as we are working on building an environment that will cause us to enjoy our short journey on this planet optimally. I also enjoy playing a game of pool, basketball, or tennis.”
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