Evie Gurchuran: Replanting the Idea of Entrepreneurship

March 06 2019

In Guyana I am the CEO of Gurchuran investments, where I manage a portfolio of brands across industries, including Java Coffee Bar and Sites Builders. My role is to develop the business concepts and direct their brand presence off and online. I ensure that our social mission is clear and that all employees are trained to utilize best practices. Endless research and countless hours of designing, testing, and working the cafes is required.

My newest project is Co-GROW, an incubator style coworking space which encourages young people to fast track their business ideas, complete with mentorship, a business centre, and the infrastructure and training necessary for them to succeed. At Co-GROW, we are ‘Replanting the idea of Entrepreneurship’.

This is especially important to me because of the struggles my husband and I faced as we started our journey in entrepreneurship. There were so many days we wanted to give up, and for a long time, we were so overwhelmed. Having amazing people in our lives who believed in us, advised, counseled, and mentored us, was worth more than any sales figure at the end of the day.

I am constantly aware of gender equality. I’m blessed to have supportive partner in my life, but I still notice the differences in how I am approached as a business woman, and what is expected of me, i.e. what my acceptable personality and demeanor should be.

Equality in theory is not so much the problem, compared to other parts of the world, but rather equity. There have been strides in policy changes and equal opportunity manifestos. But the fairness and lack of consideration, especially the perception that a woman’s ‘place in the home’ or ‘she is property’, needs to be eradicated.

Examine our healthcare system, which would have heavily pregnant women sitting for hours on end for five minutes with a public care doctor or nurse. Simply getting a loan is a challenge since most women are required a guarantor. And our education system remains focused on preparing women for the ‘home care’ or ‘domestic services’ industries. You will quickly find that there has not been much thought around what should be done to create the kind of systems that make change for women.

To make a profound difference in Guyana, we need to focus on how our generation can leap from a place of low technical ability and fast track our youth, especially women, with an interdisciplinary approach. Constantly, it must be asked, ‘what are the skills required here and now to build Guyana’s future? How can we hone cognitive thinking and reasoning?’

It’s about more than just teaching and training, but also capacity building and viewing the challenge as an iterative process, analyzing the changing trends of what ‘being skilled’ means and how it applies to the needs of our nation, and broadly, the development of markets and industries.

Why do I say ‘especially’ women? Guyana is still a patriarchal society, but women are the hands on the cradle, they are the ones influencing the next generation through their care, their stories, and their example. Women are paying it forward when opportunities are created a better life.

Being at the Presidential Precinct and around the people who are dedicated to making a difference helped me unlock a desire lurking beneath what I HAD to do and what I COULD do, simply because it was demonstrated and executed daily with ease thanks to the massive support structure which envelops the organization.

Before attending the networking opportunities provided by the Presidential Precinct, I had never experienced the dynamism of a thriving entrepreneurship ecosystem. I came back to Guyana with such a passion and determination that I, Evie Gurchuran, could make a difference, and I did not have to quit my job to do it. I could incorporate a social mission into my projects, to ensure they and I were sustained.

The mentorship, care, and validation that I received and continue to receive is worth more to me than I could ever explain.

Through the exposure and knowledge that I gained in Charlottesville, I began to see organizations who are deeply concerned and motivated to create real change. As I researched for my reverse exchange project, I came across the opportunity to lead a chapter in Guyana for Girls in Tech Global. I filled out the form with no real expectations of being taken seriously. What did I know? Within a month the interview process would start and within two months I was being onboarded. It is so surreal to now be the Managing Director of the Guyana chapter.

The level of resources and exposure that have been shared with me, is beyond anything I could have created on my own.

What makes me believe that I can be the super hero of my dreams? The validation, the encouragement, and the sincerity of the people who believe in me. They believe that I have something special in me that is worth developing – so that I can serve my country and others around me in a way that is greater than who I am and an extension of every person who works tirelessly for change and transformation.

Evie Gurchuran is a 2018 alumna of the Presidential Precinct’s Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI).

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