Port Mourant Secondary students get grants under Small Business Bureau’s school entrepreneurship initiative

Minister of Business Dominic Gaskin (second, from left) and other officials with some of the grant awardees. (Ministry of Business photo)

Nine students of the Port Mourant Secondary School in Corentyne, Berbice, have received grants of up to $30,000 each under a pilot “In-School Entrepreneurship Programme.”

According to a Ministry of Business press release, which was issued on Thursday, the Port Mourant Secondary School is one of 15 schools chosen from acrossa the 10 administrative regions to participate in the programme, which is being spearheaded by the ministry’s Small Business Bureau.

The students who were awarded grants, which are expected to be disbursed by the end of November, are: Davashnie Sugrim, Michelle Adrian, Rakjumarie Rampersaud, Yoshoda Mahabir, Mohesha Narine, Shabina Narine, Kevin Henry, Delicia Sarmento, and Alicia Ramoo.

In his featured remarks at the grant disbursal ceremony on Thursday, Minister Dominic Gaskin was said to have shared with the students what it meant to be an entrepreneur. He also highlighted some of the entrepreneurial qualities that they should develop in order to be successful, such as creativity and innovativeness.

The release said the “In-School Entrepreneurship Programme” has two components to actualise viable business plans through School Based Assessments (SBAs), which students have already been working on as part of their Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) preparations. The components are: “Future Boss – Aspire to Inspire Sessions” and the Grant Allotment.

It explained that technical staff from the Small Business Bureau visit each of the participating schools to conduct “Future Boss” sessions with 4th and 5th form students. For one period during a selected subject time, the Bureau’s staff engage the students on the benefits of entrepreneurship, help them to identify business opportunities based on community needs, identify opportunities for funding and share requirements for setting up a business in Guyana.

The second component of the project sees the allotment of up to $30,000 in grant funding for 100 students from across Guyana to fund their SBA projects in subject areas such as Principles of Accounts (POA), Principles of Business, Home Economics, Agriculture Science and Building Technology. The students are usually asked to simulate or manage a business of their choice within the POA syllabus, while Agriculture Science students are required to manage farms (plants and/or animals).

The release said the aim of the programme is to provide support to less fortunate students, while promoting entrepreneurship as a means of economic empowerment. This initiative is expected to the complement government’s drive to promote entrepreneurship and business innovation among Guyana’s youth.

According to the release, the Small Business Bureau is the executing agency for the Micro and Small Enterprise Development and Building Alternative Livelihood for Vulnerable project funded through the Guyana REDD+ Investment Fund.  Earlier this year, it noted, the Bureau partnered with the ministries of Public Security and Education to execute another Youth Entrepreneurship Programme, called YouthBiz 592. Under that programme, 68 early school leavers received grants of $300,000 (US$1,500) to start various projects. The “In-school” programme, it explained, is another collaborative effort between the Small Business Bureau and the Ministry of Education. The Small Business Bureau will also be implementing the ministry’s business incubator programmes for the Belvedere and Lethem industrial estates.

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