Minister Walrond at AmCham’s Youth Entrepreneur Programme
Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce, Hon. Oneidge Walrond says her Ministry is committed to youth entrepreneurship, and will provide avenues for further growth.
The Minister was speaking at the launch of the American Chamber of Commerce’s (AmCham) Youth Entrepreneur Programme on Tuesday, which seeks to develop young Guyanese entrepreneurs.
“We will assist in providing capacity building through training programmes. We will also enhance your access to markets by building a facilitative environment for a digital economy and very importantly, we will provide access to financing through the Small Business Development Fund and the soon-to-be established Entrepreneurship and Innovation Fund.
Contrary to this oft-voiced platitude, the reality is that our youth have often been relegated to positions that have very little correlation to their expertise and capabilities, and they have many times been overlooked because there is a presumption that they lack experience,” she said.
Minister Walrond said youths have a lot to contribute to Guyana if given the chance.
“I would love to see a greater number of our young people launching out into business, rather that adopting the conservative approach of job-seeking, though I hasten to add that one of the primary reasons that we promote business development is for job creation.”
She said there are some similarities between Government’s initiatives and those of AmCham in promoting entrepreneurship among Guyanese.
“Businesses are much more likely to survive if there is guidance and support from those who have travelled the road before.
There are businesses that get registered without a full understanding of their statutory expectations, accounting requirements and business management.”
Minister Walrond also noted the importance of businesses fulfilling their corporate responsibilities by observing statutory obligations.
She said many small businesses lose out on billions of dollars in Government contracts because of non-compliance with statutory requirements.
Meanwhile, in his address, Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport, Hon. Charles Ramson noted the importance of multi-dimensional support for youth development and trade.
He also said the Government will continue to advance its “Shark Tank” initiative, where young persons between 18 and 35-years-old could win up to $1 million to start their business.
“Young people can get up to $1 million so that they can start their own business…. Part of our programme is not just to leave young people alone, there is a strong mentorship programme attached to that, and that’s one of the reasons why we had that strong engagement with the various chambers of commerce.
Within the various chambers of commerce, you have a plethora of experiences, skills, know-how and also the yearning to give back,” he said.
AmCham’s Director, Ms. Iman Cummings said the programme will contribute to the revolution taking place in Guyana with youths entering into business.
She noted that the programme has “the mix of young entrepreneurs who seem to have the knack of seizing every opportunity that comes their way, young people who have already started their businesses and are looking to put their audacious ideas to the test.
“We need to provide the environment for them to reach their full potential; we need to guide them so that their innovative ideas could flourish and usher in a larger private sector that can match ideas and reach. Like their counterparts in the Region and around the world, we have to continue working hard towards nurturing a knowledge-based, fostering an innovative and technological culture in the community as well as creating a healthy eco system for young entrepreneurship and start-ups.”
Several seminars with world renowned experts will be held to foster learning and networking.
The launch was held at the Regus building in Georgetown.