Ambassador Lynch delivers remarks for Guyana’s Global Entrepreneurship Week Virtual Event

Remarks as prepared
Ambassador Sarah-Ann Lynch
Guyana’s Global Entrepreneurship Week Virtual Event
November 10, 2021

Distinguished members of the private sector,
Members of the various Chambers of Commerce,
Members of the media,
Distinguished guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good morning! It’s wonderful to be with you all today to participate in this event marking Global Entrepreneurship Week, 2021.  The theme alone was exciting enough for me to want to participate. “Guyana’s Evolving Startup Ecosystem: Innovation and the Role of Civil Society Business Support Organizations.” That is a mouthful of important concepts starting with the critical role of civil society Business Support Organizations in building prosperity for all, and

I’m thrilled that so many organizations signed up for today’s event. I’m also thrilled that there seems to be a lot of collaboration around today’s event. From the organizers at Innovate Guyana, to the whole collection of stakeholders under the Global Entrepreneurship Network banner, your partnership in working for today’s event is a testimony to the common vision for a prosperous Guyana for all Guyanese, which is something the United States feels very strongly about. It’s the rich diversity that we all bring to the table, on an equal playing field, that will make the best ideas a reality, with innovation as the driving force.

With that in mind, I know you all just heard the amazing pitches from our Guyanese innovators, and I can’t wait to watch the recording to see for myself. I’m especially interested in the innovation used to create solutions to everyday problems through the use of science and technology. And of course, we desperately need products that mitigate the effects of climate change and preserve our environment. One of the most enjoyable parts of my job is listening to the energy that young Guyanese entrepreneurs have. That is one reason why U.S. Embassies around the world celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Week every year, to highlight the essential contributions of entrepreneurs to economic development. I’ve said this before and it’s worth repeating. Entrepreneurs are special people. They take risks, they are driven, and they are passionate. Guyana, and indeed the world, needs you! But in order for entrepreneurs to be successful, they need mentors, and they need partners. And that is where the Business Support Organizations or BSOs come in.

Each successful Chamber of Commerce that wants to grow and strengthen its membership should have a mentoring program. Mentoring can take many forms, either a formal part of the Chamber, or a part of the membership protocol, with each company committed to having its own mentoring program. I know the American Chamber of Commerce in Guyana started a mentoring program last year, and the Women’s Chamber also focuses on mentoring. I am sure there are more. But without a method to build sustainability in the business sector, the BSOs become clubs that have little chance for advancing diversity, equity and inclusion in the economy, and that will inevitably leave people behind. If Guyana is going to avoid the resource curse around oil and gas, mentoring MUST become a part of the norm. Personal and professional development cannot be an individual responsibility, it has to come from a supportive environment that motivates people to perform to their highest level. When you know someone has your back, don’t you feel motivated to keep going, to do your best? And on the other side, when you know someone is watching, don’t you always want to say that you did your best, no matter what the challenge? That is what mentors are for. They are good for the individuals; they are good for the community; and they are good for your company. People who feel a part of something bigger than themselves will always be more productive, higher performing employees.

Through the U.S. Embassy, we have programs to help entrepreneurs realize their potential. The Academy for Women Entrepreneurs is one, whose local implementer I’m glad to see is here today. Hello Abigail. The Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative is another – both the fellowship and the online network and the Black Entrepreneurs Association (BEA) is another important entrepreneurial association.  A couple of weeks ago we opened an American Corner, in partnership with the National Library.  We expect great things to emerge from that program, too. I encourage you to check the U.S. Embassy Facebook page to learn more about all these initiatives.

Lastly, I want to congratulate all the participants in today’s event for an important recognition of the power of the community to help foster prosperity for all. Thank you for all you do, know that the U.S. is behind you in spirit, and watching for your success and impact. Thank you very much.