From left) Representative of Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Barbados, Tyrone DeFreitas; Executive Chairman of the SCGBA, Nichole Murray; Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Small Business Bureau, Dr Lowell Porter and Guyana’s Coordinator of the Sustainable Caribbean Enterprise Management Group (SCEMG), Melvin Smith

to promote Region through ‘grassroots’ entrepreneurs

“OUR aim is to create a sustainable presence in the Region that the world can point to and say there’s a group of people who really represent the Caribbean that we can call on for the goods and products we need. The Sustainable Caribbean Grassroots Business Alliance (SCGBA) is here to help Caribbean people to help the world to love us and know who we are, so that they will desire us and want our products and want to come and be a part of what we are; eat what we eat; taste what we taste and do what we do,” said Executive Chairman of the SCGBA, Nichole Murray.

Murray was speaking at the SCGBA’s launch in Guyana on Saturday. She explained that the business organisation, which is working in conjunction with the Small Business Bureau, was launched as a way to create an interlinked business enterprise throughout the Caribbean; that enterprise would boost the Caribbean’s export levels on the international market. She explained that the organisation will serve to bring together grassroots entrepreneurs from the Caribbean, allowing them to develop and grow their businesses, while promoting cooperation among CARICOM countries.

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Murray stated that the company is hoping to have 30 new products from the Caribbean that will be ready for exportation to the other Caribbean countries, as well as parts of Europe and Africa; it also intends to have 10,000 businesses registered with the organisation by the end of 2020.

Further, she explained that many businesses are operating and earning without the relevant documentation; one of the organisation’s aims therefore is to ensure that businesses receive their relevant documentation, so that they would be able to take their businesses further than the level at which they are currently operating; that would enable them to benefit more from their businesses.

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“There is so much work that is being done, so many businesses that are operating and earning and this organisation’s job is to help those unrecognised businesses to be recognised, by making things official. Our approach is simple, if we get products and goods that are up to a certain standard, begin to move in between the countries, then we empower people financially, to have the ability to logo and do the things that they need to do: for instance, getting your Skilled Nationals Certificate from your CARICOM office and getting all your paper work done,” said Murray.

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Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Small Business Bureau (SBB), Dr Lowell Porter, spoke at the launch, stating that the bureau sees this collaboration as one that would be very beneficial to the business community in Guyana, especially those members of the small business community; it would help them to not only operate their businesses in their normal capacity, but it would afford them the opportunity for growth.

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“I like this initiative because I believe that if we don’t start helping those who are down below you could never build the top. So if we try to build entrepreneurs we want people who are capable; who understand why they are in business; who understand the metrics of why they are in business and at the same time they have to have the capacity to scan the environment to understand what is going on outside of my little space here,” said Porter.
Further, he said that the over 2000 businesses registered under the SBB would benefit from training in small business management, record-keeping and business plan writing; they would then be able to use this as a way to expand their businesses to a level where they are in a position to export their products.

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This initiative launched by the Sustainable Caribbean Grassroots Business Alliance (SCGBA) is backed by the CSME; this is according to representative of Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign trade Barbados, Tyrone DeFreitas. He said that Barbados, the head of the CSME, is in favour with any plans that are directed toward promoting growth throughout the Caribbean.

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“Any initiatives leading to greater integration within the Region will be supported by the government of Barbados. The Region is faced with unprecedented challenges, including climate change and challenges of blacklisting, and the countries in the Region need to come together; and the only way we can come together is to build out profitable industries that would be mutually beneficial, and that’s what we see from this initiative: mutually beneficial outcomes for all parties involved,” said DeFreitas.

The SCGBA will on November 2, 2019, host a symposium at the Arthur Chung Convention Centre. That event will feature some of the businesses with which it has been working since beginning operations in Guyana.

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