Guyana may not have the size and population of its neighboring countries, but the South American nation is one of the more promising digital markets emerge in recent years. Between 2000 and 2016, internet adoption has skyrocketed from 3,000 to 305,000—an over 10,000% increase. Today, the country’s consumer market ripe for tech startup penetration, with over 41% of the population connected.
The following are the top 9 reasons why entrepreneurs should consider Guyana when founding their tech startups.
9. A stable, growing economy and rising population of digital consumers.
A country’s economic prosperity impacts local tech startups’ ability to innovate. In Guyana’s case, the economy is expected to grow more than 3% year-on-year between now and 2020; inflation is expected to remain at 2.5% or less annually during the same period.
8. Continuously improving infrastructure resources and data services.
Guyana’s infrastructure resources are reliable and constantly improving. This is especially true of the coastal areas, where 90% of the country’s population lives. Critical resources—power, water, telecommunications, and data/bandwidth—are available at a lower cost than most of its Caribbean neighbors.
7. A nation of highly proficient, native English speakers.
Interestingly, Guyana is the only South American country with English as its the official language. In fact, the population boasts an English-speaking literacy rate of over 90%. This eliminates language barriers when running a startup—a predicament that poses significant roadblocks in other countries like India, Bangladesh, Brazil, or Mexico.
6. No visa required for entering the country.
Visa-free entry is available to citizens of over 70 countries, making transit to/from the country a streamlined affair —check out the full list here. Work permits can also be downloadable from the same government website.
5. A highly-skilled workforce of professionals.
Guyana’s workforce is highly skilled and receptive to training. Again, with such a high literacy rate, local professionals are more than adept at competing on a global level; local companies like Qualfon Guyana and Teleperformance are a testament to this fact.
4. Ample government incentives and low interest rates.
Low interest rates and startup/business incentives from the government are readily available to help local startup founders. For example, the interest rate is pegged at 5% and business incentives abound: tax holidays for pioneering activities, duty-free and zero consumption tax on machinery, plant, equipment and raw materials, duty-free importing of computers/parts, and more.
3. Hiring local, skilled professionals is more cost-effective in Guyana.
The local workforce is not only tech savvy, business proficient, and highly literate—it’s also easy on the bottom line. Cost of labor in Guyana is low: minimum wage for the private sector is pegged at $214 per month, while hourly rates run around $1.23.
2. Low telecommunications and data transfer costs.
Living and working in paradise doesn’t have to mean sacrificing your digital conveniences. Fiber optic networks piped in from neighboring Brazil, the 5th largest digital audience in the world, allow Guyana startups to enjoy high bandwidth, low latency data services at a minimal cost.
1. Rising local demand for digital products and services.
Domestic demand for tech-related offerings increases year-on-year as the country evolves and develops; this trend is likely to increase as local consumers and businesses ramp up their demand for digital products and services.
As one of the fastest growing countries in the Western Hemisphere, Guyana is embracing tech innovation to shape the country’s future. To this end, digital startups will continue to be a key catalyst for growth—and with a highly competent workforce, reliable infrastructure, stable economic growth, and a low barrier to entry for businesses, Guyana might just be the perfect setting for bootstrapping a tech startup in paradise.