Georgetown, Guyana – (May 11, 2018) First Lady, Mrs. Sandra Granger, this morning, presented certificates to 48 participants from the village of Ann’s Grove, East Coast Demerara and its surrounding environs, who successfully completed the one-week course of work of the 27th Self Reliance and Success in Business Workshop. The graduating class is the largest group to complete the course to date and Mrs. Granger, speaking at the simple graduation ceremony held at the Ebenezer Congregational Church, encouraged them to continue to take advantage of training opportunities, which can help to empower them to create lucrative opportunities for themselves and the development of their communities.

The First Lady said that she is pleased to see the number of women across Guyana, who are interested in honing their entrepreneurial skills and have successfully completed the training. She expressed gratitude to the Ministry of Social Protection and Minister Amna Ally, who in 2015, she said, saw the value of the workshop and how it could help to empower women. “[The workshops], since its implementation have been and remain in high demand across the nation, which tells me that women are interested in moving on and becoming self-confident, self-sufficient and self-reliant about themselves, both in the economic sense and in the personal sense because the beauty of this project is that it focuses on your entire life as a person; as a person in a community and as a business woman,” she said.

Mrs. Granger noted that while her office plans to take the workshop to other communities across the country, it has received a request from more than 40 additional residents in the community for another workshop to be held there. The First Lady committed the ensuring that this becomes a reality, once her office is able to secure the necessary resources. In addition to the workshop, the First Lady said that the Small Business Bureau works closely with her office and the facilitators to provide the participants with the relevant information on marketing practices, packaging and the accessing of grants and loans from the Ministry of Business, during one session of the workshop.

Meanwhile, Minster within the Ministry of Natural Resources, Ms. Simona Broomes, who also delivered brief remarks, said that she is happy to see women particularly those from Ann’s Grove, a community which was neglected under the former administration, being provided with the opportunity to develop the tools and skills for empowerment. Minister Broomes also praised the First Lady for her work and the initiatives she has been spearheading in the quest to empower women and young girls across the country.

Mr. Yohann Sanjay Pooran, Facilitator at Interweave Solutions Incorporated, who gave a brief overview of what the workshop entailed, said that the certificates given to successful participants are recognised by most financial institutions throughout Guyana. He, therefore, urged the participants to take advantage of the doors that the qualification can open for them. “We have had hundreds of women graduating from this programme, which caters for holistic development. You are now equipped with the relevant set of skills in record keeping, in leadership, management, promotion, marketing, that will help you to grow smart, effective, efficient and successful small businesses. That is 48 potential new businesses in the areas of Bee Hive, Mahaica and Ann’s Grove and I want you to think about the economic implications for the lower East Coast. We help women to strengthen their business, their homes and by extension, their communities,” he said.

Several of the graduates expressed gratitude to the First Lady for providing them with the opportunity to participate in the workshop and expressed enthusiasm about their plans.

Ms. Unice Fortune, a member of the Ann’s Grove Sister’s Group, said that she plans to use the knowledge acquired at the training with regard to financing and financial accounts to improve and monitor the revenue flows for her place of business. She also plans to share the skills with members of her community, who could not participate in the workshop. “I have learnt that a business has to save… You need to separate your business money from your home money in order to see if your business is growing,” she said.. Ms. Shondell Jones, a resident of the Two Brothers Village said that as a proud Guyanese, she hopes to use her training, particularly the Community Development Action Plan to set up her own business as well as assist others so that collectively, they can contribute to the growth and development of the country.

Mr. Keswick Kelroy Barry, a resident of Ann’s Grove and the owner of a mini-mart, said, “I have learnt so much, especially the six P’s [Price, Product, Plan, Promotion, Paperwork and Place] of Business [that] I haven’t been doing but having come to this forum, I can now apply the six P’s to my business,”

The completion of this training brings the total number of beneficiaries to 1,178 while 50 persons have been trained and certified as Trainers of Trainers to date.

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