The Stabroek Online Marketplace was launched on Tuesday at the Marriott Hotel and is aimed at promoting the growth of local businesses and manufacturers on an international scale.
The e-commerce platform would give businesses an online space to retail their goods and services and allow customers locally and globally to shop in a diverse, efficient and transparent market.
Even though several e-commerce platforms are already available in Guyana, Stabroek Online Marketplace will allow local businesses to access payment globally- the first of its kind. This is according to Chief Executive Officer of the market Althea Toney.
She also explained that several other factors make Stabroek Online Marketplace unique when compared to other platforms such as Facebook Marketplace, which many argue is readily available.
"You have a business solution in one platform. So we offer the payment component, the logistics alternative and we also offer the after-sales customer service that would not necessarily be offered on the Facebook market page."
Businesses who wish to market their products on this platform would be required to pay a fixed cost of US$40 and whenever an item is sold a transaction fee would be charged. However, this will vary according to the item category.
They would also be required to have a tax compliance certificate and meet international standards- which the CEO posited will be an essential requirement to gain access to this platform.
Furthermore, she explained that vendors would not be limited to a certain amount or type of product as the platform also wants to showcase Guyana’s diverse culture.
This platform will also advertise Guyana’s Tourism products and will officially be launched on May 19th.
Benefits of the platform to the private sector
This initiative conceptualised by President Irfaan Ali received strong support from the Georgetown Chambers of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) which is the largest private-sector body in Guyana.
The President of the Chamber, Timothy Tucker explained that this will be a major boost for local businesses particularly small and developing ones while emphasising the need to market products of a high standard.
“If you made a decision to get into business you need to know that there is a standard in which to do so and we need to move away from the adhoc labelling and the false labelling and everything else and realise that Guyana is no longer the Guyana of old but Guyana the international community is here.”
Need for the platform to cater for rural areas
The concept of this platform was also supported by the Director of Business at the Ministry of Tourism John Edghill. However, he emphasised the need for the platform to be accessible to businesses, particularly in rural areas where connectivity has been a long-standing challenge.
"So in Region One in all the sub-districts, I would love to see the participation of small businesses in the Region. In Region Nine in the Rupununi, even in Region Seven. Every part of this country must be covered by Stabroek Online Marketplace."
Over time, it is the goal for this platform to be the biggest e-commerce platform locally.