In the two weeks since its opening, the Centre for Local Business Development, set up by ExxonMobil affiliate ESSO Exploration & Production Guyana Ltd and United States-based development company DAI Global, LLC, has already registered 40 businesses, according to Director Patrick Henry.
The Centre is intended to assist local small and medium-scale businesses to become more competitive in the larger economy and to be prepared for the imminent oil and gas supply chain.
Henry told Stabroek News that one of its major roles is to educate business owners and allow persons to understand what the offshore oil and gas industry is and how they can become active participants.
“It’s new to Guyana and so it’s just giving a broader slice of companies to compete for contracts,” he said, while highlighting that focus will be placed on small, medium and micro-scale businesses.
According to Henry, the business owners would have to visit the centre and provide vital information about their respective operations before they will be registered.
“That’s how we interact with businesses and how we get information and alert them to tenders and training,” Henry said.
He also explained that centre will also offer training in nine main areas: Offshore Oil and Gas Literacy; Local Content in Guyana’s Offshore Industry; E-Procurement and Accessing Opportunities in the Oil and Gas Supply Chain; Safety, Health and the Environment Literacy; Business Management; Financial Management; Supply Chain Management; Marketing and Client Relationship Management; and Human Resources. The training programmes are expected to start in mid-August.
“We hope to have a few a hundred Guyanese businesses in the portal and then start running the classes, he said, while pointing out that currently there is no distinction between large, medium and small-scale businesses. However, such will be sorted when the registration portal is finished and they have access to businesses’ information.
“As we start doing the training and crystalise it, our definitions of small and medium will kind of revolve around the information that people have registered in the programme. Right now, to give a hard definition of revenue doesn’t make a lot of sense until we can get a lot of people that are interested,” Henry added.
He said that currently they are targeting businesses that are in the area of logistics and supplies, marine vessels, offshore work and any other services that can run in conjunction with the oil and gas industry.
When asked how long the centre will be functioning for, Henry explained that it is being funded by ExxonMobil for three years. However, the aim is for it to become self-sustaining after. “The center is modeled around other centres that ExxonMobil supports around the world,” he said, while adding that they will partner with other established organisations and build on infrastructures that already exist to ensure that the centre remains free standing.
At the end of the three years, Henry said he hopes that at least 500 Guyanese businesses are registered in the data pool.
Persons interested in registering with the centre can visit its office at the Institute of Private Enterprise Development Ltd (IPED) on South Road, Bourda.