The Department of Youth on Friday formally handed over grants for businesses that were awarded to participants of the Guyana Youth Business Summit, which was held at the Pegasus Hotel in May.
According to a release issued by Department of Public Information (DPI), 11 participants were declared winners of the ‘Jaguar’s Den Competition’ at the summit and were selected for grant funding to develop their proposed businesses.
The release said that during the handing over ceremony, which was held on Friday at the Ministry of the Presidency, the recipients lauded the administration’s drive to develop and sustain an environment which fosters initiatives to target youth development in various sectors.
Recipients Ishabeth and Michael Sinclair, who are residents of Region Six, expressed their appreciation not only for the grant to further develop their business but also for the leadership training which they received through the Department of Youth.
The Sinclairs, who are both under the age of 30, are the founders and owners of M and I Business Enterprise, which is an agro-processing venture that produces cake-mix, pepper sauce and a variety of spices that are already on the shelves of leading supermarkets.
“The company is growing – right now, we are looking to expand. We plan to add another piece of equipment to the current operation and complete the construction of the facility which houses the operation with this grant,” Ishabeth Sinclair was quoted as saying.
“This company is not only for us; it is for the development of our community as well. As the company grows, we will be able to employ more persons. We currently have two persons employed,” Sinclair added.
Jewel Collier-Swan, along with three colleagues, are currently operating at Hubu, in Parika, where they are producing cassava flour. “This business is basically a start-up. Although we were all involved in some aspect of farming prior to this, the focus right now is cassava and adding value to the product through the manufacturing process. We have started producing cassava flour under the brand “Guyana’s Own” and we have prospects of diversifying our product line. Cassava is a product which can be converted to so many end products, and this grant will assist in the process,” Collier-Swan said
Another recipient, Vanita Savory, also expressed her appreciation and she disclosed that the grant will assist in the construction of a facility to house her business. Through her venture, she hopes to introduce fresh mushrooms to the Guyanese market.
At the handing over, Assistant Director of Youth Leslyn Boyce, who is currently acting in the capacity of Director of Youth, pledged continued support to the development and empowerment of youth on behalf of the government through the Department of Youth. “This Department will continue to provide you with the skills and resources to develop yourselves as individuals and empower you to make meaningful contributions to your communities,” Boyce said.