Visiting Professor at the School of Enterprise and Business Innovation (SEBI) at the University of Guyana Dr. Leyland Lucas is advocating more robust support from the commercial banking sector for startup business ventures “in their greatest time of need” as one of the building blocks for the creation of an “entrepreneurial ecosystem” in Guyana.
In an article written for publication in the forthcoming issue of The Guyana Review, Professor Lucas argues that while “regulatory demands” place constraints on banks’ lending practices, this does not remove them from “the realm of responsibility” for promoting entrepreneurship and supporting the ecosystem. Commercial banks, Lucas contends, must “find ways to embrace entrepreneurship and the creation of new entities.” He says that “special programmes must be designed by banks to meet the needs of entrepreneurs, such that the ecosystem can thrive and become self-sustaining,” adding that “banks cannot survive by simply lending to established businesses…if banks are not there for entrepreneurs in the embryonic stage and their greatest time of need, then how can they expect to be embraced later? Such behaviour is tantamount to the absentee parent who, upon a child’s rise to a position of prominence, suddenly emerges and seeks to benefit.”
Lucas, meanwhile, is also calling for credit unions, which, he says, “are the guardians of significant financial assets” to play their role in the entrepreneurship system “as enablers of economic activity rather than guardians of savings,” a position which he says can be realized with “enlightened management and not much risk” and which can contribute to the creation of a new group of “wealth generators.” Such a move, Lucas says, requires personnel with the necessary knowledge to effectively perform the duties associated with the “new duties” of the credit union in terms of providing support for programmes designed to aid entrepreneurship…..