Local entrepreneurs are preparing to tap a US$226,195 grant that the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has given to the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) to enhance “export readiness of enterprises in creative industries, particularly music, arts and craft and agro-processing.”
At the launching of the project on Friday, Chair-man of the Trade & Invest-ment Committee of the GCCI Lance Hinds said the participants would receive assistance to develop export development plans that would outline the strategies and actions required to successfully enter the targeted market.
The grant, which was provided through the CARIFORUM-EU, Eco-nomic Partnership Agree-ment (EPA) and Standby Facility for Capacity Building under the 10th European Development Fund, would go towards the cost of “improving competitiveness in Guyana and strengthening of small and micro enterprises (SMEs) to increase non-traditional exports.”
The funding would assist the most export-ready enterprises to improve their business and production practices and the quality of their products.
The aim is to meet the requirements in the EU, CARIFORUM and the French Caribbean outermost regions and other overseas markets.
The project is expected to develop and initiate implementation of approximately 19 export development plans, strategies and action plans.
It would also help the participants to improve the quality of goods and services, identify market opportunities and meet market demands. They would also benefit from training that would enhance their capacity.
Executive director of the GCCI Krysten Sewett pointed out that earlier in the week the participants were part of a pre-consultancy workshop conducted by the chamber along with the CDB,
The aim of the workshop was to get essential feedback on what sector stakeholders require and to enlighten them on international marketing opportunities and trade requirements.
She said the project can only be a success through the active participation of the stakeholders and hoped that the interest that was expressed during the pre-consultancy stage would remain strong and consistent.
“As business support organisations, we can only provide the technical assistance and resources necessary for development, but the enterprises must be ready to grasp at these opportunities and capitalize on them.”
Also making remarks were Joachim Vedsted Jakobsen of the EU and Percival Marie of CARIFORUM/CDB as well as president of the GCCI Vishnu Doerga.
Ruel Johnson, Cultural Policy Advisor, Ministry of Education, in his remarks, said that while the project is a “welcome and in many ways progressive initiative, in some critical ways we have been here before and have had little to show for it in the way of lasting structural arrangements.”
He said he understands “the constraints of sustainable, strategic funding on the part of a Europe beset by its own occasional economic crises, and the disjointedness that so often afflicts the CARIFORUM regional operational environment, yet we both need – Mr Jakobsen, Mr Marie – to work much harder to ensure that our engagement in this critical area is far less cyclical and duplicative and more tangibly progressive.”
Johnson said too that “the spirit of the EPA, as I comprehend it, is to develop a mutually beneficial partnership between the two blocs of nations – that will not happen if we continue to do this dance for another thirty years without real benefits beyond abstract policy and ad hoc technical and financial support.”