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Minister Walrond tells 25 awardees

Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce, Hon. Oneidge Walrond has congratulated 25 recipients of awards at the Small Business Bureau’s (SBB) Small Business Award ceremony, even as she urged them to continue to use the agency’s services to grow their businesses.

In her feature address at the ceremony Friday evening, the Minister also encouraged the businesspeople to view their awards as catalysts towards greater success.

Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce, Hon. Oneidge Walrond delivers her remarks.

“See them as a palpable recognition of your arduous work and fortitude. Equally important, let this award inspire those who are considering business or thinking about abandoning their operations,” she said.

Additionally, the Minister said this year’s theme, ‘Resilience, innovation and ingenuity,’ are the new watchwords if any business is to survive the pandemic.

“[They] are also enshrined in our policy approach for business support. COVID-19 has taken a devastating toll globally, but in many cases, it made us stronger and smarter.”

Minister Walrond encouraged businessowners to equip themselves with the relevant information and skills, noting that it is important they understand business plan writing, marketing and prudent financial management.

“All of this is provided in the training offered by the Bureau. This training is also important because it positions you to benefit from the 20 per cent [contracts] Government set aside for small businesses.

Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce, Hon. Oneidge Walrond and some of the awardees.

As a small business, you have access to billions of dollars earmarked for the provision of goods, works, and services and allocated to small businesses. It is now important that you develop your capacity to benefit from these resources,” she said.

The Minister said the Government would continue to support the growth and development of small and micro-enterprises. To this end, it has established four key pillars to support small businesses: training, funding, innovation and equal access to resources.

She also called on small businesses to comply with the law and to ensure they observe their statutory commitments to the State through the Guyana Revenue Authority and National Insurance Scheme.  Minister Walrond added that that since taking office, she has noted that many small businesses do not comply with the law, either through ignorance or neglect.

“I am aware that both agencies have supportive systems to guide you along. I don’t want you to see taxes as a bad thing or burdensome. See it as part of your fiduciary responsibility to the State, one that allows you to give back so others can also benefit from this fund. You paying taxes fulfils your half of a symbiotic partnership with the State,” she explained.

Meanwhile, SBB’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Lowell Porter reminded the gathering that the Bureau would always be there for them and their businesses.

Chief Executive Officer of the Small Business Bureau, Dr. Lowell Porter

“We will continue to work hard because we believe that there is a reason for our existence and we receive the support from the Government and that is why we want to recognise you for your determination, resilience, innovation and ingenuity.”

The SBB Small Business Award recognises the achievement of small businesses during 2020. It is the second such ceremony held by the Bureau.