Improving Competitiveness in Guyana and Strengthening of SMEs to Increase Non-Traditional Exports

 The Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) has received a grant of USD 226,195 from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) towards the cost of improving competitiveness in Guyana and strengthening of small and micro enterprises (SMEs) to increase non-traditional exports. The grant is provided through the CARIFORUM-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) Standby Facility for Capacity Building under the 10th European Development Fund (EDF).    The grant resources will be used to enhance the export-readiness of enterprises in creative industries particularly music and art and craft, as well as in agro-processing.  The project also seeks to build the capacity of business and trade support of business organisations to deliver value-added support services to the targeted industries.

CDB, through its funding, seeks to assist Guyana’s most export-ready enterprises operating in the identified industries to improve their business and production practices and product quality in line with the market requirements in the European Union (EU), CARIFORUM and French Caribbean Outermost Regions (FCORs)/Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs) markets. Participating enterprises and musicians will receive assistance to identify specific “best bet” trade opportunities, particularly those made possible through the EPA.    Participants will receive assistance to develop Export Development Plans which will outline the strategy and actions required for them to successfully enter or deepen their penetration of the targeted markets.

“It is no secret that the industries that supported Guyana’s economy for so many years will not be able to do so much longer. It is therefore critical that other sectors are developed for commercial and most importantly, export led growth. This initiative seeks to support this imperative by better positioning enterprises to take advantage of trade and development opportunities to compete under the rules, regulations and reality of the Economic Partnership Agreement,” said Lance Hinds, Chairman, Trade & Investment Committee, GCCI.

The project is expected to develop and initiate implementation of approximately nineteen (19) Export Development Plans and three-year Export Development Strategies and Action Plans for the three industries.  The project will positively impact the quality of goods and services produced by participants as well as the capacity of firms to identify market opportunities and meet market demands in the EU, CARIFORUM and FCORs/OCTs.

Also, the supporting business organizations within each sector will receive training to enhance their capacity to use the marketing information and the results of the export-readiness assessment to lead the implementation of the three-year Export Development Strategy and Action Plan for their particular industry.

“The project aligns to CDB’s strategy to support initiatives focused on building competitiveness, innovation and entrepreneurship, among women and men and within SMEs. We do this by providing technical assistance to assess the production capacity of these enterprises, identify genuine market opportunities, and design and implement plans to take advantage of market opportunities,” said Edward Greene, Division Chief Technical Cooperation Division, CDB. “The EPA Standby Facility is an integral part of the Bank’s efforts to collaborate with our development partners to support inclusive growth and diversification of the economies of Borrowing Member countries.”

The Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) has partnered with several other agencies and is currently collaborating with regional and international development partners to deliver services critical to the growth and development of Guyana’s private sector.

“Sustainable business growth is driven by access to training and other business support that provides the necessary skills required to fuel innovation. It is critical that businesses use this support to move towards larger scale, export ready enterprises focused on generating employment and growing revenues,” expressed Vishnu Doerga, President, GCCI.

The project has commenced and is expected to conclude on March 17, 2017.

The CARIFORUM-European Union (EU) Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) & the Caribbean Single Market & Economy (CSME) Standby Facility focuses on capacity building in the region.