Local businesses and support organisations will, on Monday, be afforded the opportunity of participating in a videoconferencing exercise at the Country Office of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) on how to participate in a programme that could secure them non-reimbursable funding for innovative projects under a scheme being offered by regional organisation, Compete Caribbean.
Local IDB Civil Society Coordinator Kevin Bonnett told Stabroek Business earlier this week that the Country Office had dispatched information on the initiative to business support organisations in Guyana including the Private Sector Commission and the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry, (GCCI). A Chamber spokesperson told Stabroek Business that it will be seeking to disseminate information on the initiative to its members and that it will be represented at Monday’s meeting at the IDB Country Office.
Compete Caribbean will provide up to US$500,000 “to firms and entrepreneurs to take a chance on an innovative risky business idea to improve the revenue performance and competitiveness of the firm’s or entrepreneur’s idea. Compete Caribbean will finance innovative ventures to develop new products, implement new business models or enter new markets,” the release says.
While startup companies are welcome to apply the primary focus will be on existing companies, it added.
Valued at an estimated US$40 million Compete Caribbean is a private sector development programme that provides technical assistance grants and investment funding to support productive development policies, business climate reforms, clustering initiatives and Small and Medium Size Enterprise (SME) development activities in the Caribbean region. The programme, jointly funded by the IDB, the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) and the Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada (DFATD). Guyana is among 15 Caribbean countries in which it supports projects. Projects in the OECS countries are implemented in partnership with the Caribbean Development Bank.
The information being circulated states that firms legally established in Guyana and which are registered under the Compete Caribbean Innovation window are eligible to apply for the grant. It adds that “firms and entrepreneurs must commit to provide counterpart funding (up to 50%) of the programme.”
Applications will be judged on, among other things, their commercial appeal and sustainability. Additionally, they should have the potential to positively improve the livelihoods, skills and incomes of employees and suppliers of inputs and services.