The official opening of the inaugural Business Exposition 2015 is testimony to the administration’s commitment to the development of the sector as it strives to provide equal access to the country’s economic space. This is according to Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo who in the capacity of Acting President officially opened the exposition last evening at the Sophia Exhibition Complex, Georgetown.
The expo which concludes on November 29, 2015 is being held under the theme, “Guyana Products and Services – our gateway to the good life.”
The exposition is an opportunity for small businesses to be showcased, small business owners to network, government to expose its policies and plans for the sector, credit facilities to explore new and less burdensome ways of providing financial access and most of all for the sector to be seen as integral to economic, political and cultural developments.
The Prime Minister in his remarks prior to the symbolic cutting of the ribbon and fireworks display, said his government is seeking to expand and enhance this area of business and promote entrepreneurship as this is seen as critical to strengthening and sustaining the country’s economy.
Prime Minister Nagamootoo on several occasions pledged his Administration’s continued support towards establishing the framework for a level playing field, one which will allow equal access by both local and foreign investors, to concessions and grants for the development of their businesses.
“I believe that the theme chosen for the Business Exposition is actually positioning us in Guyana to give meaning to small initiatives…our government has started just six months ago with encouraging these innovations by bringing in players and make them feel that they are worthy of being Guyanese players, Guyanese stakeholders,” the Prime Minister advised.
He told the packed audience which included several government ministers, members of the diplomatic corps, businessmen and women, foreign business leaders, tourists and other officials that a small business person has an advantage, not simply to be a progressive business person, but one, who in his /her ingenuity can contribute to the growth and development of the country.
“This is a new dimension in marketing, a new dimension of exhibiting ourselves, (we) should not just be able to say born in Guyana, we should say made in Guyana and it adds doubly to the pride we feel as Guyanese.”
The Prime Minister explained that, “President David Granger unfortunately could not be here and I am honoured that I could act for him, perhaps not as ably as he could say things that are dearest to his heart as his love for young people getting into business, for entrepreneurs trying to start getting into the economy, but I still believe that had he been here, he would have wished you all great successes for the expansion of your businesses, and it is in his name and the name of our government that I have the honour to declare this business exposition open.”
Meanwhile in his remarks, Minister of Business Dominic Gaskin said the expo is being held in collaboration with the Ministry of Business and the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association (GMSA), “as we wanted to direct the attention to small business to ensure their development.”
“This event presents a real opportunity for small businesses to have access to a volume of customers over a three-day period that they may not ordinarily encounter in an entire year of business, and this allows them to showcase and sell their products and can get valuable feedback that can be used to improve these products.”
The Ministry of Business was established to ensure that the investment climate is improved, investments are promoted both locally and abroad and to ensure that business have a level playing field to operate, thus resulting in the best possible chance of success.
“Business expo is more than just a one off event, it is a targeted measure that addresses two of the Ministry of Business’s main goals around which our five -year strategic plan is crafted. Those goals are to support the development and exports of value added industries and to increase the economic opportunities and capabilities of vulnerable groups,” Minister Gaskin explained.
The Small Business Act stipulates that 20 percent of all public contracts awarded must go to small businesses. It is the intention of the Ministry of Business to institute a programme that prepares small businesses to access public spending.
The Ministry is looking at transparency, fairness, equity and good governance in particular, as means of promoting confidence in the economy. However, investors must understand that this is an economy where investors are welcome and in which their investments can be secure and one where they are given a fair chance in making profits.
The event also saw the participation of members of the Caribbean Association of Investment Promotion Agencies (CAIPA). The huge crowd was also treated to a dramatic presentation by Kross Colour productions.