The first batch of Guyanese women entrepreneurs participated over the weekend in a bootcamp organised by the Centre for Local Business Development under its Accelerate-Her programme. This programme is funded by ExxonMobil Guyana and Stabroek Block co-venturers Hess and CNOOC through the Greater Guyana Initiative (GGI), a decade-long US$100 million project launched earlier this year.
The weekend bootcamp opened on Friday evening at the Pegasus Hotel Guyana and concluded on Sunday.
Natina Singh, Inbound Logistics Supervisor at ExxonMobil Guyana, said the Centre’s support for Guyanese businesses has enabled companies to not only enter the oil and gas sector, but advance their capabilities in other sectors in the country.
She said there has been progress in the development of Guyanese businesses over the last 4 years evidenced by the growth of the local suppliers operating in the oil and gas industry.
“Over 800 Guyanese suppliers are now supporting ExxonMobil Guyana’s operations in the country, and we will not stop there. More remains to be done to advance sustainable economic development for all Guyanese, especially opportunities for women,” Singh said.
ExxonMobil has been working to develop programmes that foster the empowerment of women which has seen the company hire over 550 Guyanese women to support its activities. The company is also supporting community initiatives such as the We Lead Caribbean, the Blue Flames Indigenous Women’s group or as announced last week, the launch of the Cherie Blair Foundation’s game changing business skills app, Her Venture.
In her message to the participants, Dr. Natasha Gaskin-Peters, Director of the Centre, said over 90 applications were received for the bootcamp. She reminded that the primary role of the Centre, which opened its doors in 2017, is capacity building.
“We train local Guyanese businesses free of charge so that they could gain opportunities within the oil gas industry,” she said. “We have been doing this through our training programs in offshore oil and gas, our seminars. We have courses and procurement for the oil and gas industry, we also have our health, safety, security and mentorship courses.”
The Centre also has courses in procurement for the oil and gas industry, financial, human resource and supply chain management, health, safety and security, and mentorship programmes. A project management course is also expected to be launched soon.
“So, we help you to build all those policies from documentation all the way to implementation. We also have an ISO-9001 program. So, we have been doing a lot in the oil and gas industry, but our mandate is to make sure that there is inclusive economic growth Karen Guyana especially as it relates to supplier development,” Dr. Gaskin-Peters said.
Kerri Gravesande-Bart, President of the Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry Guyana said the Chamber is pleased to be supporting the Accelerate-Her programme.
“One of our key objectives at the Women’s Chamber of Commerce is to adopt a more active role in shaping and strengthening the future of Guyana’s economic landscape,” Gravesande-Bart said. “We believe programs such as these will help to create a springboard to grow for the finalists in this program by opening doors to new connections and opportunities through this very network.”
Under the Accelerate-Her programme, the Centre will target women owners, operators and managers from across all sectors, to help them to build their leadership skills as well as business skills as entrepreneurs.