Guyana is undoubtedly one of the startup ecosystems with the greatest and strongest growth during 2017 in Latin America and the Caribbean. The country is at a crossroads between the need to study its production model and to strengthen an increasingly powerful and innovative technological sector. Statistics show that domestic demand for technology-related offers increases as the country grows and modernizes. Everything indicates that in coming years this trend will continue as consumers and local businesses increase their demand for digital products and services.
As one of the fastest growing countries in the region, Guyana has understood that the country’s economic and productive future depends on technological innovation. With this purpose, digital startups are going to be a major player in national development, being a catalyst for this growth thanks to a highly qualified workforce and a solvent technological infrastructure. To this must be added the fact that Guyana offers stable growth rates and that it is recognized as one of the countries with the most accessible regulatory framework for new companies.
Since the beginning of the new century, Internet has skyrocketed from 3,000 to 305,000 users, an increase of more than 10,000 percent. Nowadays, the country’s consumer market is ready for the arrival of new technologies, with more than 41 percent of the population already connected.
Throughout the Caribbean, governments are creating strategic alliances with regional actors such as Caribbean Network Operators Group (CaribNOG) and Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU). CaribNOG is the community of network engineers, computer security experts and amateurs of the largest technology in the region.
Recently, CaribNOG and the CTU were among the organizers of Internet Week Guyana, a five-day technology conference organized by the Ministry of Public Telecommunications of Guyana, in collaboration with international organizations such as the Internet Society, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the American Registry of Internet Numbers ((ARIN) and the Internet Address Registry of Latin America and the Caribbean (LACNIC).
Catherine Hughes, Prime Minister of public telecommunications of Guyana, remembered that the event was part of the national agenda to develop the country’s technological capacity in cybersecurity and other important areas related to new technologies. In this sector, startups in Guyana will play a decisive role.
Many of Guyana’s technology startups have already undertaken on the transition from consulting-based technology and business services to digital products and service offerings. The economic prosperity of the country is having an impact on the capacity of these local technological startups to innovate and also think about scaling up to other countries. Guyana forecasts that its economy will continue keeping a growth rate of more than 3% year-to-year until 2020; it is expected that inflation will remain stable at 2.5% per year. The result of this promising scenario is the appearance of new startups in the technological field and projects such as the co-working space Weown Space, which is responding to the growing demand for new spaces of the development.
To all this aspect, we also must add the structural elements that enhance the capacity of Guyana as a technology hub for Latin America and the Caribbean: it is the only country in South America with English as the official language. The population has an English-speaking literacy rate of more than 90%, which is an important advantage when establishing business relationships with other countries. The absence of language barriers when creating a startup is a key element in its capacity for growth, a situation with significant obstacles in other countries such as India, Bangladesh, Brazil or Mexico, where English is not the first language. Otherwise, the country gives visa-free entry to citizens of more than 70 countries which allows the possibilities of attracting foreign talent.
Low interest rates (5%), and a long list of incentives by the government of Guyana for startups and businesses, complete a panoramic view with high expectations of future development. So, in the last year Guyana has been on the radar of many investors, who see a great opportunity in the country and its entrepreneur. At PanamericanWorld we have chosen five companies in the country that represent the booming ecosystem of startups.
InnoSys develops management applications and business processes that are offered as service software (SaaS), especially for companies linked to the medical and pharmaceutical sectors. The platform offers human resources and payroll administration, purchase and inventory, pharmacy administration, medical inventory system and electronic system functionality for health records.
The startup of Guayana weOwn Space offers a comfortable and affordable space for users to collaborate, organize networks, study or hold a conference. The facilities are equipped with high speed internet, backup power, air conditioning, outdoor seating, a kitchen with basic services. It is a co-working space in the area.
This platform, developed by IntellectStorm, is basically a website and a mobile application that offers everything that locale and the visitor need to know about Guyana. The advantage is that all information is channeled through the same place: from the best restaurants for dinner as well as the local events, flight schedules or weather information.
After winning the 2016 Hackathon Competition in Guyana with its Tell Incident Reporting application, Version75 has highlighted out during 2017 as one of the most visible and dynamic startups in the region. Now it continues to work on new projects and scenarios to show the progress of its application, aimed primarily to companies in Guyana, young talent from the technology sector and other users.
Housty specializes in software development and social media marketing. He has focused on creating websites and using social networks to offer, as his founders point out, a “passionate, proactive and creative” work for his clients. The company also offers a social media marketing course for those who wish to develop in new business strategies.