The Guyana Chapter of the Women’s Entrepre-neur-ship Network (WEN-G) has responded positively to an invitation from the Small Business Association of Jamaica to attend the July 19 – 21 Inaugural Caribbean Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSEs) Conference in Montego Bay, President of the local Chapter Junette Stewart has told Stabroek Business.
The intra-regional forum is expected to attract participants from Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, St Vincent and the Grenadines, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Guyana and Cuba and will be hosted by Jamaica’s Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Karl Samuda.
In an interview with this newspaper earlier this week, Stewart said WEN-G had responded “immediately and positively” to the invitation, given the opportunity it afforded to better equip the local body to raise the level of its contribution to better positioning MSEs owned and managed by women to “make their mark” in the Guyana economy.
Stewart said the forum, financial support for which is being provided by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) seeks to facilitate a gathering of business owners who provide or intend to provide a service or product to the region as a whole and participate actively in the business communities in their respective countries.
The forum, which is being held under the theme ‘Collaboration for Caribbean Business Sustainability’ will bring together stakeholders from the regional public and private sector to discuss trade, finance and regional business policy.
Stabroek Business has learnt that the forum will witness participation by representatives of the Caribbean Community Secretariat, Ministers of Trade, Investment and Commerce in the region, representatives of regional MSEs and Small Business Associations.
Stewart said the documentation she had received from Jamaica had included in its list of priorities for deliberation “buying local” as a social safety net, government procurement policy and MSEs, jobless growth in small Caricom states, access to credit in the context of sustainable development and protection of vulnerable companies from avoidable business failures.
The Montego Bay forum is also expected to address alternative methods of business financing, overcoming barriers to financing, access to affordable finance, developing human capital, market access through innovation and creativity and more efficient use of information and communication technology in the business sector.
Stewart said the WEN-G delegation was particularly looking forward to participating in the deliberations that are expected to result in the creation of a draft policy document on Caribbean business sustainability and engaging governments in the region for specific policy changes in trade, finance and legislation. Stewart said that the local WEN group was also considering the logistics associated with ensuring that its members benefit from the regional market likely to be afforded by the proposed mini expo for MSEs.