─ one of 2,000+ successful hinterland businesses

─ $2B+ invested in hinterland youth empowerment since 2016

─ “The programme was great because I always wanted to own my own business and I started to receive this little income” – Paulo

Marissa Paulo, a young stay-at-home mother of Shulinab, the only Makushi village in the South Rupununi is now a young successful entrepreneur. This was made possible through assistance from the Hinterland Employment and Youth Service (HEYS) programme.

Paulo sells motorcycle parts and gasoline from her home and with a small freezer retails cold beverages.

She was one of the more than 20 persons in her community who benefitted from training under the HEYS programme.

In an interview with the Department of Public Information (DPI), the 26-year-old mother of two said that she started her business with the $50,000 grant she received after the completion of the one-year training programme and was able to enclose a space attached to her home, furnish and stock the shop.news 20190213 4

“So, I started with motorbike parts and gasoline because this is a major means of transportation used in my village. While there were other shops selling the same thing, I believed it was too pricey. The business was going good for the first five and six months and then suddenly other persons started to sell the same thing I was selling, and I started to get fewer customers, and my business went down a bit.”

Marissa did not stop; instead, she kept her business afloat by partnering with her husband who is a mechanic. “His customers would purchase the parts from me and so I get extra income from there. So, it’s still going, but right now I don’t have enough in stock because the goods go fast as the people come to fix their bikes.”

Paulo said that the programme was a stepping stone for her as she was able to work from home and earn a living while taking care of her family. “The programme was great because I always wanted to own my own business and I started to receive this little income.”

She intends to approach her village leaders to get on the list to benefit from the additional support from the government this year.

In addition to restocking her shop, she will purchase a solar system to power her freezer. “I realise that I was using gasoline more than I selling, so I stop the freezing. Now if I get this solar system, I will no longer use the gas and I will be able to make a profit.”

Paulo is encouraging other youths to make use of these opportunities offered to young people.

The APNU+AFC Government, over the past three years, has invested $2B and more in hinterland youth empowerment, which has resulted in the establishment of 2,000+ successful businesses under the Hinterland Employment and Youth Service (HEYS) programme.

In 2016, close to $1Billion was budgeted for the new HEYS project, which was piloted in Paramatakoi, Mountain Foot, Bamboo Creek, Monkey Mountain, Tuseneng and Tarukain in Region Eight, Potaro-Siparuni. A further $991M was allocated in 2017 and $982M in 2018.

To ensure that these businesses grew in strength and flourished, a further $176M was approved for monitoring and mentoring along with additional monetary support in 2019.