Green Tech Fund launched to provide up to $1M in individual funding

– shortlisted applicants to pitch ideas to panel of judges

The People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Government, through the Tourism, Industry, and Commerce Ministry, has launched a Grene Tech Fund that will see individuals whose proposals are approved, receiving up to $1 million in funding.
According to the Small Business Bureau (SBB), which is overseen by the Tourism, Industry, and Commerce Ministry, the fund is intended to fuel green innovation in Guyana – at a time when the country is seeking to push for more climate-smart technologies and practices.

The Small Business Bureau

“The green technology fund was created to assist you with developing groundbreaking solutions for today’s environmental challenges using process improvement and innovation,” the SBB said, adding that the deadline for persons to submit their proposals is July 19, 2024.
Among the requirements is that applicants must be registered with the SBB. Additionally, they have to create a detailed business proposal that will include information on their innovative idea, equipment needs, cost, utilisation of any software, financial statements, cash flow projections, and quotations.
“Once shortlisted, clients will have the opportunity to pitch their idea to a panel of judges,” the SBB explained, adding that successful applicants can become one of 12 winners who will receive up to $1 million in funding each to make their idea a reality.
For 2023, it was disclosed that almost 1500 Small Business Grants were disbursed across the country. Once registered, persons can benefit from loans, grants, training opportunities, and exposure for their businesses.
The SBB also assists small enterprises with exposure at local and international expos, which has allowed those businesses to grow their customer base, gain familiarity in the market, and expand production. Coaching and mentorship programmes have further enhanced their capabilities.
For 2022, the Small Business Bureau had surpassed its 2022 grant distribution target by 631. The agency had a budgetary allocation for the sum of $300 million for the distribution of 800 small business grants. However, by the end of 2022, the agency had distributed a total of 1431 grants.
The SBB Fund has grown significantly since 2020. In the 2020 and 2021 budgets, the respective sums of $100 million and $250 million were approved.
At the end of 2023, it was disclosed that hundreds of small businesses benefitted from loans and grants amounting to over $500 million, enabling and empowering micro-entrepreneurs and enterprises to boost their operating capacities and target new markets.
Over 1400 small businesses received grants totaling $300 million for the year 2023. Only in January of this year, the SBB disbursed some 398 Small Business Grants, allowing the recipients to embark on advancing their respective enterprises. The Small Business Grants were allotted to entrepreneurs in Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica) but this exercise will follow in the other regions.
SBB is a semi-autonomous agency that was first established in 2010 and became operational in 2013 under the Ministry of Business in keeping with the Small Business Act of 2004. The bureau first received funding from the Guyana REDD+ Investment Fund (GRIF), for the ‘Micro and Small Enterprise Development (MSED Programme).
It is not the first time the SBB has invited applicants for the Green Technology Fund. When invitations were extended in 2020, applicants were required to propose projects that would include the use of applications or prototypes that would make use of ‘green’ energy.
The bureau’s push to fund green technology projects comes even as Guyana is making strides in diversifying away from the use of fossil fuels and gravitating towards the use of more green technology. Plans to achieve this are laid out in the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS), the brainchild of former President Bharrat Jagdeo.
Under President Dr Irfaan Ali, an updated LCDS has been launched. The government has announced plans to resuscitate the Amaila Falls Hydropower Project. Smaller hydroelectric plants have been added to hinterland regions, and solar distribution panel programmes have been reintroduced. Solar farm projects will be created around larger communities to support economic projects.
The new gas-to-shore project will also kick in by 2025, enabling a significant reduction in Guyana’s dependency on fossil fuels. Guyana’s goal is to reduce fossil fuel use by 50 per cent by 2025, and by 70 per cent by 2030.