Remarks as prepared
Ambassador Sarah-Ann Lynch
AmCham Guyana Business Pitch Competition
October 5, 2022
Chairman of AmCham, Mr. Devindra Kissoon, Amcham Executives,
Director of Business, Ministry of Tourism, Industry, and Commerce, Mr. John Edghill.
Members of the private sector,
Our ten pitch competition finalists,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good afternoon and thank you, Rosh, for your introduction. It’s wonderful to be here with you today. Thanks to our partner, AmCham for organizing this great pitch competition today.
Thank you to the sponsors; GTT, KOJAC, Georgetown American University, Prem’s Electrical, Action Invest, GLASS, Qualco, SOL, Pinnacle Business Services, Scotiabank, and HR Guyana for supporting and investing in the vision of young entrepreneurs. I must recognize our esteemed panel of judges whose task is both challenging and rewarding.
To the finalists here today, congratulations! You were selected out of 67 applicants because of your outstanding and innovative business pitches. You are all winners today, as you will benefit not only from thoughtful advice from well-experienced and knowledgeable judges but also from the mentoring and networking opportunities made possible through Amcham and Embassy Georgetown. Initiatives like this event serve as a platform to raise awareness of your businesses and lay the bedrock foundations for future innovation and development. Guyana is poised for tremendous growth, and we are counting on you to implement the advice from the judges to create flourishing businesses that support Guyana’s growth.
The United States prioritizes business development as an essential part of supporting a country’s path to economic diversification and sustainable development. We are happy to partner with AmCham on today’s event. Amcham’s Youth Entrepreneurs program launched in 2021 with a vision to encourage and support young entrepreneurs. Pitch competitions like today’s aim to foster a culture of innovation in business, further strengthening the capacity of young entrepreneurs, and reinforcing the Embassy’s commitment to helping innovative youth to increase their competitiveness and turn their ideas into commercial products and services.
The winner of the competition will receive an Embassy-sponsored prize of one million Guyana dollars to bring their product to market. Additionally, the finalists will receive a bevy of developmental resources from sponsors and AmCham members, including leadership coaching and networking opportunities. I’ve heard chatter that some business owners and investors are in the room today as well, all eager to see if their next collaborator might be right here next to them. This level of support for local entrepreneurs clearly illustrates the importance of the private sector’s involvement in Guyana’s transformation.
The United States supports youth, women, and minority groups to improve inclusion in the social, economic, and political spheres. We’re thrilled that the application process was open to all Guyanese, and so many people of diverse backgrounds participated in the competition.
Whether it is the Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative that offers in-person training in the United States, the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs that offers training and support to women in Guyana, or the Entrepreneurship Learning initiative launched in collaboration with AmCham at the National Library that has trained over 80 aspiring entrepreneurs of all ages, the U.S. embassy is proud to promote business development. I know there are many more entrepreneurship initiatives being led by both the private sector and government, and I applaud them all.
Entrepreneurs and established businesses often tell me that access to finance is a challenge. So today, I am excited to announce the launch of a financial brochure to serve as a roadmap for new entrepreneurs seeking financing, and thanks to the Ministry of Tourism, Industry, and Commerce for your support identifying some of the resources to include. These initiatives are welcomed especially in moving the needle in the right direction on addressing key constraints for new and small businesses.
As you go forward, my advice to you is to listen, learn, and act. In any new venture, it is wise to learn from the experiences of others and your judges have significant experience. You are the future of Guyana’s private sector- the engine of growth here. I encourage you to think globally and act locally. Finally, I encourage you to network with and learn from those in the room!
I wish you the best of luck as you make your case for the winning spot. Your commitment to solving problems and responding to market needs by developing innovative ideas is evident in your ability to reach this point. I hope to someday soon be able to visit some of your businesses and learn of your achievements.
Thank you also to AmCham for your hard work and commitment to this effort. This program and all of you are a shining example of how private and public sectors can partner together to create economic prosperity for all.
Thank you very much.