After two decades in operation, Carlotta Grimes, who was named by the Institute of Private Enter-prise Development Limited (IPED) as the Best Entrepreneur for 2017, has credited determination and good management for her resilience.
Grimes runs what IPED has described as a small food and household items distribution centre, located on Trench Road, East Ruimveldt and she services most of the residents of her community and in the immediate environs. During its operation, she has watched her business grow from a small shop to a thriving distribution centre.
Grimes, who spoke recently with Stabroek News, said she first approached IPED for a loan to help develop her business almost two decades ago and has been a client ever since.
At the start, she had been a single mother with six children “trying to juggle to make ends meet” and ensure that her children had everything they needed to attend and excel in school.
Grimes noted that it was one of her friends who encouraged her to try for a loan through IPED, which she did and she said she does not regret the decision to this day.
“The first time I borrowed from IPED it was $15,000 and I used that along with my own instinct to develop my business. I sat and I thought long and hard and tried to do what is best and what I think is right for my business. I borrowed the loan even though it was challenging to pay back because I had children going to school and it was rough. It was a struggle because I also had my own inner struggles but now my children are big and everything has paid off,” Grimes explained.
Every year since the first year has seen the amount Grimes has borrowed increase significantly. She is now able to borrow up to $1 million because of how her business has grown and her record of paying back.
She has been able to grow her products base as well as attract more customers to her business and she said that she is at a point where she is very comfortable.
“Without IPED it wouldn’t have developed as it did because when you borrow a loan and you get the money it’s a lump sum and you’re able to invest more to get more profit and it was very important to how it has grown. I would encourage more people to explore the option but everyone’s not like me because it can get difficult and you have to be very responsible because you have a loan that you have to pay back as well as properly managing your business,” Grimes explained.
Grimes said she believes IPED can help a lot of small businesses if they are ready to properly manage their small- or medium-scale business and make profit-making a priority,
“IPED helped me big time and can help a lot of small businesses but at the end of the day it’s all about managing. Just like if your husband brings home his month’s salary and you have to manage it. If you can’t manage that, then you can’t manage a business,” Grimes said, while noting that often there are people who try to live beyond their means when their business starts developing, which ends up hampering their progress.
Grimes, who noted her elation at being recognised by IPED, said she also tries to assist other small businesses in her area by selling them products at the prices she would have bought them at so they would be able to resell them for a profit.
“I would love to see many other young people taking the same path at me because it’s a good opportunity but you can only carry the horse to the well, you can’t make them drink the water,” she noted.
Grimes was among those named as best clients for 2017 by IPED in a range of categories. The others were Faizul Zayum, who operates a Furniture Manufacturing business in Charity, Essequibo Coast (Micro Enterprise Project); Neville Copping, who has a poultry rearing business in Corriverton, Berbice (Small Enterprise Project); Dharamdeo Lall, who operates an offshore fishing business in Jib, Essequibo Coast (Medium Enterprise Project); Mahendrakumar Bhisham, who grows rice in Corentyne, Berbice (Agricultural Project); and Mahendra Persaud, who has a furniture manufacturing business in Zeelugt North, East Bank Essequibo (Manufacturing Project).