Business Minister Dominic Gaskin believes that Lindeners understand the need for diversity and the importance of branching out into a broader range of economic activities to achieve a thriving and sustainable community.
During the recent launch of the Linden Enterprise Network (LEN), the Minister extended a message of hope, noting that one of the best ways to grow economically was by promoting innovative business solutions. Some $155 million was set aside in the last budget for the advancement of LEN, which would assist in the promotion and development of business-related ventures for Linden and Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice).
“It is expected that the $100 million invested by Government in this programme for the year 2015 would kick-start a number of sustainable business activities that would be role models for the community and showcase Linden as a place where businesses can prosper,” the Minister said.
Gaskin spoke of the importance of credit loans in assisting small and medium sized businesses, stating that the level of frustration felt by borrowers who were tasked with undergoing lengthy processes to meet the requirements of lenders has been recognised.
He, however, stressed that it was important to establish the viability of proposals before lending could take place. This may be necessary, he established, as a precautionary measure. He said it was not Government’s intention for businesses established from these loans to fail since failure did not send the right signal to future investors. Additionally, Gaskin warned against defaulting on the loans.
“The success of the programme (LEN) will depend on how well it is implemented, how well the funds are utilised by the recipients and most importantly, the rate of default. Because unrepayment is a problem for most levels, and this is why the criteria for borrowing is so stringent in the first place…all in all, default is not something that we want to see and it also does considerable harm to the programme itself, because it prevents the people coming further down the line from enjoying the same opportunities that you would have had to access credit for your business project.”
Minister Gaskin added that creditworthiness was a very important aspect of the process of borrowing. He said unless borrowers ensured that they had a track record of such, it may be difficult down the road to acquire financing.
The Business Minister said the ultimate goal should be to establish a larger business at which point acquiring credit loans may become a necessity.
He continued by stating that LEN played a major role in business development by offering business advisory and incubator services which were critical to capacity building thus enhancing the chances of success for small businesses in the community.
The Minister said he was confident that there were innovative young people in the community who would use ideas to create and develop successful business ventures. The entrepreneurial spirit, he noted, must be given room to develop fully in all regions of Guyana.