President to launch first phase of GRIF-funded small business support project

A near interminable wait for the launch of the US$10 million Micro and Small Enterprise Development (MSED) Project comes to an end on Monday with the unveiling of the first phase of the project by President Donald Ramotar at the International Conference Centre at Liliendaal.

The launch of the MSED will effectively kick start the operations of the Small Business Bureau created

President Donald Ramotar
President Donald Ramotar

several months ago under the Small Business Act but which has spent a lengthy period creating a register of small businesses that will be seeking support under the MSED Project.

Monday’s launch of the MSED will unlock the first US$5 million tranche of the US$10 million Guyana Redd+ Investment Fund that will finance the development of small and micro enterprises in the country.

A release issued by the Ministry of Tourism, Industry and Commerce said that the project which will be overseen by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) is “designed to support the Government of Guyana’s goals with respect to poverty alleviation and the reduction of carbon emissions, as outlined in the Millennium Development Goals and the Low Carbon Development Strategy.”

The first phase of the project, which will proceed over a two-year period, “is expected to create or sustain 2,200 jobs in low carbon-type economic activities and among groups,” the release said.

The launch of the project will unlock access to various forms of grants, loans and lending guarantee support in collaboration with local commercial banks. Among other things, the project creates a window that will ease the familiar borrower headache of collateral that has afflicted small and medium-sized entrepreneurs seeking bank loans by creating a borrower guarantee facility.

Financial services apart, the release says the MSED project will provide other forms of incentives including business development services through partnerships with other institutions. This newspaper understands that those services will include management and technical training for businesspersons associated with the project.

The release says the project seeks to remove various key hurdles to the growth and development of small and medium-sized businesses including limited access to finance and limited technical and business skills. It says that “access to finance will be addressed through a combination of an interest subsidy and support for a portion of the collateral required for loans. Additionally, there is a grant component to assist entrepreneurs with start-up activities.”

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