…New GPC lauded for local products manufactured…as businesses urged to embrace technologyThe Linden Exhibition and Trade Fair officially opened in the mining town at the Egbert Benjamin Centre on Friday evening, with over 50 local businesses and industries on display.Gafoors products on display at the trade fairThe annual event which is put on by the Linden Chamber of Industry, Commerce and Development (LCICD) was declared officially open by Minister of Business Haimraj Rajkumar. The three-day event forms part of a “Business Week” initiative put on by the Chamber which is being hosted under the theme, “New horizons, new opportunities in 2019 and beyond”. It will feature three days of showcasing local large, medium and small scale businesses from across the country.Speaking at the event, LCICD President, Victor Fernandes alluded to a successful three days of the business forum thus far, with engagements with persons from the diaspora, entrepreneurs, business professionals and investors. He noted that moving forward, the exhibition intends on showcasing local products and businesses. He urged all to accept new challenges associated with changes in business in 2020 and beyond, noting that there is much potential in what is to come as it relates to the oil and gas sector in Guyana.Locally manufactured products on display“The only way how we can benefit is if we should retool because it is something that is new to us and for many of us if we don’t rise to the occasion of new innovations and the technology that comes with oil and gas we would be lost, overwhelmed by it all. And, therefore, in many instances, we would miss the economic benefits…Businesses must, therefore, learn and learn quickly to be innovative and to be up to the challenge of the economic transformation that is to come,” he told the gathering.Fernandes added that local businesses must rise to meet challenges and embrace the use of technology to market products.He said emphasis must be placed on quality in standards and services offered and to ensure that products are of the highest quality, more so as it relates to marketing and packaging. He said, therefore, the exhibition provides the opportunity to enhance local products while creating an opportunity for businesses to network and create opportunities for new markets.Fernandes highlighted local companies such as the New GPC Inc, which he noted is currently manufacturing a large quantity of local products.Minister of Business Haimraj Rajkumar in speaking on behalf of President David Granger said many opportunities are available across the country in economic sectors but would not be materialised unless deliberate actions are taken to make them a reality.The Minister said with the emerging oil and gas sector, the economy has taken a new direction.“Petroleum is now part of our economic reality. The question is, how will our business community benefit from procurement opportunities that directly relate to this sector? Although there are not many opportunities in this sector, we must be able to create it…and we must prepare ourselves to benefit from the spinoffs of this sector…As a Government, we are committed to ensuring that Guyanese business have equal and fair access to those business opportunities, but it has to be a collaborative effort. As businesses leaders, the growth and development of our business will depend on how well we are able to respond to change”, he said.Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Small Business Bureau, Dr Lowell Porter in his remarks alluded to the available opportunities in the community but pointed to the need for support from larger businesses so that small businesses can grow. He also urged small business owners to come in and find out how the Bureau can be of assistance to them as he posited that grants are available. Dr Porter also urged entrepreneurs to be creative and innovative in starting a business.