Over 100 small businesses in Region Two benefitted from a One-Stop-Shop Small Business initiative held from Monday to Wednesday in Anna Regina, Wakapoa, and Akawini. The event was hosted by Ministry of Tourism, Industry, and Commerce, in collaboration with the Small Business Bureau, the Guyana Revenue Authority, the Deeds and Commercial Registry, and National Insurance Scheme.

The One Stop Shop targetted persons interested in starting or expanding their businesses. Business owners were able to register their business, apply for NIS or GRA compliance and apply for a Small Business grants and loans. Participants also benefitted from training in business plan writing.

Minister of Tourism, Industry, and Commerce, Hon. Oneidge Walrond, who was in the Region for the activity, explained that the initiative aligns with the vision of President, Mohamed Irfaan Ali, of taking the services of the government to the people. She added that the event is a facilitatory approach to the distribution of Small Business Grants.

“Very often, while processing small business applications, we recognize that people have difficulty with compliance from the GRA and NIS and many have not registered their businesses. It was on this premise that we created this event to bring these respective agencies together to accelerate the processing of these grants and to ease the burden of the applicants,” Minister Walrond said.

She said the One-Stop-Shop also aims to ensure equitable distribution of the Small Business Grants. “In the past, most of the recipients were from Regions 4 and 10. We want to change that because no one must be disadvantaged based on geographical location. That is why events like these are so important, because they give all Guyanese a fair opportunity to access the grant and other services of the bureau,” she added.

The minister expressed satisfaction with the quality of and variety of applications. “I was very impressed with what we have seen. In Akawini for example, we had people who indicated interest in expanding a lumber yard and another to establish a cooking gas distribution business. In Wakapoa, there was an applicant who evolved from our In-school programme and is now establishing a juice operation within the community. These are the kinds of interventions that the government is happy to make,” she noted.

Meanwhile, CEO (ag) of the Small Business Bureau, Vanessa Thompson, described the One Stop Shop as a tremendous success. “It was heartening to benefit from the excellent support of the partner agencies, the regional administration, and village councils in hosting the Small Business One-Stop Shop. In addition to completing registrations and applications for financing, access to the partner agencies presented an opportunity for beneficiaries to resolve pending matters particularly with GRA and NIS,” Thompson said.

She explained that the next steps include processing and disbursing grant and loan applications from the Small Business One-Stop Shop. The Ministry of Tourism, Industry, and Commerce plans to expand the initiative to other underserved regions and communities throughout Guyana.


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