Small businesses urged to use technology to expand knowledge
As Guyana prepares for the benefits from the impending oil and gas industry, Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) are being urged to use technology, not only to expand their knowledge, but to also become more efficient so that they are better prepared to take advantage of the opportunities that would be available when oil production commences.Governor of the Bank of Guyana, Dr Gobind Ganga, addressing a gathering at the Small Business Development Finance Trust Inc (SBDF), said the future is bright for SMEs in Guyana but asked whether those enterprises are ready to harness the challenges and grasp the opportunities ahead.To this end, he encouraged small business owners the use technology to expand their knowledge of their respective fields.“In Guyana, many business opportunities are abound and these opportunities will increase in the near future. The Small and Medium Enterprises have to position themselves to grasp these opportunities. In looking forward to opportunities, focus must not be lost of the challenges these businesses face. While some may be systematic, some of the challenges can be overcome by knowledge and innovations,” Dr Ganga posited.Citing a 2016 Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) study which finds that SMEs in the Region are, among other things, disparate, known for deficiencies in quality and consistency; weaknesses in packaging, costing and pricing, the Central Bank head noted that many opportunities are foregone because SMEs are not capable of maximising those opportunities due to weaknesses they exhibit.Against this backdrop, he called on these enterprises to put their houses in order. Dr Ganga, noted that extensive knowledge of production, markets, operations, finance, innovating and so on, will go a long way in ensuring success.“While some may argue that formal training is needed in some of these areas, I would suggest that knowledge abounds on the Internet. Knowledge is empowerment and any topic could be researched on the Internet. This freely available knowledge could lead to improved products and services, market strategy, provide links to new markets and allow for improving efficiencies,” the Central Bank Head stated.On the other hand, pointing to Government’s initiative to set up Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Hubs countrywide, one of the Directors at SBDF, Mohamed Ali, also encouraged farmers to take advantage of technology.“Access the Internet and look at market prices what the millers are getting per ton for the rice, see what paddy prices are so you become educated and you can speak armed with knowledge,” he stated.Ali added too that the use of technology in the agriculture sector can boost efficiency, particularly within the rice sector. “If you go on the net, you will see farmers today are using drone technology… If a farmer has 600 or 300 acres, he need not walk the entire field, he can sit at the back and send the drone up and the drone can show him the status of the conditions of his rice – where is disease and where needs more fertiliser – and even monitor his workers…,” the Director asserted.He posited that all of these technologies driven measures will also help to reduce production costs.