Georgetown, Guyana – (March 17, 2017) First Lady, Mrs. Sandra Granger, at the closing ceremony of the first Self-Reliance and Success in Business Workshop for the year, yesterday, urged the 36 graduates seize upon opportunities to contribute to local and regional food security now that they have been trained to properly manage their own businesses during the course of the one-week programme.

Supporting President David Granger’s call for increased value added production and agro-processing, Mrs. Granger said that there is always a high demand for good quality food products. “I know some people have critique the idea of going into food production… but just remember that the projections are that food security will be very important. Food and pure water supply… So think about these things. It might look small but think about going for the big picture and how you can contribute to the economy. People are looking for good food. They are looking for organic food, which is what we produce in Guyana,” she said.

The First Lady told the graduates to be confident as entrepreneurs and to allow nothing to hinder their personal development. “I hope that you will go forward in confidence; the confidence that you would have gained in learning how to organise and manage a business and also knowing how you can manage your own personal lives so that you don’t have conflicts that might hinder you from achieving your fullest potential as a business person… I hope that you would have understood, within the course of this week, how much emphasis is placed on your own personal development within the program… I look forward to hearing a lot more about you in business,” the First Lady said.

Regional Chairman for Demerara-Mahaica (Region Four), Ms. Genevieve Allen, encouraged the graduates to take full advantage of the opportunities being offered as a result of their participation in the workshop. During the course of the workshop, participants fell into four groups, the groups will return to their communities to create initiatives that aim to tackle social issues, waste management and youth empowerment. Ms. Allen challenged the groups to take action and create strategic alliances with persons within their communities. “I recognise that there are four groups that are formed coming out of this workshop. My task to you is that you will immediately approach your Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC), formally stating that you have attended this program, what are the issues that you have identified and that you want to work with them in a collaborative manner,” she said.

Meanwhile, Director at Interweave Solutions (Guyana) Incorporated, Mr. Sanjay Yohann Pooran, celebrated the fact that 1000 persons, the vast majority being women, have been successfully trained through this workshop. Noting that they managed to touch all the regions in Guyana, he said that this would, in the long run, contribute to Guyana’s economy. “I want to emphasise the fact that this training, concluded today, means that we have officially crossed the 1000 threshold mark. Now you may look at that with a country of 750,000 people and say it’s not a lot but it is. That’s one thousand people spread across all ten regions of the country, think about the economic spin off that comes if you have every one of these persons, who have graduated, started a small business, the kind of ripple effect it will have on the economy. The trickle-down effect it will have, you will have people employing other people,” he said.

Mr. Afzal Deendial, a graduate of the workshop and business owner, took to the podium to share his plans for moving forward after having participated in this workshop.

“We have formed ourselves in groups of four and I am leader of one of the groups. In our group, we have two main focuses. There is the clean-up part of it and the other one is tackling young school drop-outs in our communities… We are also tackling those young people, who did not have the opportunity to go to school which is very important,” he said.

Another graduate, Ms. Shemeza Duncan, expressed that the programme has contributed to her being more equipped to handle the business she aspires to open in the future. “I’ve learned as much as I can and I’ve met interesting people. I am really happy for this project,” she said.

The workshop was organised by the Office of the First Lady in collaboration with the Ministry of Social Protection and Interweave Solutions (Guyana) Incorporated. The ceremony was held at the Regional Democratic Office, Triumph, East Coast Demerara.


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