The U.S. Embassy is a long-time partner and supporter of entrepreneurs in Suriname. With training, exchange programs, and virtual resources, the Embassy seeks to encourage Surinamese entrepreneurs to support the development of a prosperous and thriving Suriname.
The Embassy’s latest effort to help Surinamese entrepreneurs is “Finding Funding,” a series of Facebook live presentations on new ideas entrepreneurs can use to access capital. The sessions will cover crowdfunding (on Tuesday, June 22, at 7 p.m. Suriname time) and venture capital (on Thursday, June 24, at 7 p.m. Suriname time). Both sessions will stream live on the Embassy’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Embassy.Paramaribo
“We hear from the many entrepreneurs who take part in our programming that finding financing for their business is their biggest challenge,” said U.S. Embassy Public Affairs Officer Jake Goshert. “We hope some entrepreneurs will get a sense from these presentations about new avenues for funding. And that successful business owners might be inspired to use their profits through crowdfunding or as venture capitalists to help encourage the next generation of Surinamese business developers.”
Crowdfunding is a way for entrepreneurs to find funding by raising small amounts of money from a large number of people. Usually this is done through websites, such as Kickstarter, but can also be done through more traditional advertising methods.
The speaker on crowdfunding is Jason Best. A co-founder and managing partner of Vectr Fintech Partners (VFP), Best also co-founded Crowdfund Capital Advisors (CCA) and was named 2017’s Crowdfunding Person of the Year. CCA works with The World Bank, professional investors, governments, development organizations, professional services firms and entrepreneurs globally to create policy and business strategies to fully leverage the power of crowdfund investing.
An entrepreneur-in-residence at UC Berkeley’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology, he co-founded the UC Berkeley Program for Innovation in Entrepreneurial and Social Finance to study crowdfunding globally. He has researched crowdfunding as an option in the developing world and in the Caribbean.
His talk, followed by a Q&A session, is on Tuesday, June 22, at 7 p.m. Suriname time on the U.S. Embassy’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Embassy.Paramaribo
Through venture capital, investors provide financing to new companies and small businesses which they feel have long-term potential. Venture is not always a financial investment, but could also include technical or managerial guidance. It does require, however, that businesses be able to document their potential to sell themselves as long-term successes to the investor.
The speaker on venture capital will be Beth Ferreira, a partner of FirstMark, who invests in a broad range of consumer companies, including next-generation commerce, consumer tech, and mobile startups. Prior to FirstMark, Ferreira was the Managing Partner of WME Ventures, the venture capital arm of WME IMG, and led investments in Glossier, Daily Harvest, and Masterclass.
Prior to this role, Beth was Chief Operating Officer at Fab and ran operations in the early days of Etsy. Beth also held positions at Flatiron Partners, BCG and UBS.
Her talk, followed by a Q&A session, is on Thursday, June 24, at 7 p.m. Suriname time on the U.S. Embassy’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Embassy.Paramaribo
Supporting Suriname’s Entrepreneurs
The “Finding Funding” virtual speaker series is just the latest effort by the U.S. Embassy in Suriname to support the nation’s entrepreneurs.
The Embassy’s Academy of Women Entrepreneurs (AWE), now in its second year, provides both on-line and in-person training and mentoring for female entrepreneurs throughout Suriname.
Through the Youth Innovative Entrepreneurship Program Suriname (YIEPS), the Embassy’s American Corner is providing business development training for young entrepreneurs who can then compete for seed funding to support their business ideas.
Launching in June, the Embassy’s Female Led Innovative Rural Startups (FLIRS) program will provide in-depth assistance to almost 60 entrepreneurs in the Saramacca, Coronie, and Nickerie Districts.
Through the Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI), each year five Surinamese business owners are selected for training, leadership development, and a one-on-one mentoring program with a successful U.S. business to help the Surinamese business find new ideas and expand.
The YLAI Network is an online platform accessible to any Surinamese business owner or budding entrepreneur. The Network provides a number of virtual training courses in issues important to business owners. It is free and open to the public at ylai.state.gov.
“Suriname and the U.S. are both nations that value the daring of entrepreneurs,” Goshert said. “It is one of the values we share. And the stronger and more developed Suriname’s entrepreneurs are, the more our relationship and trade between our nations can expand and deepen.”