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Guyana, formerly British Guiana, is located in the northern region of South America, bordered by Venezuela, Suriname, Brazil, and the Atlantic Ocean. It has an area of 214,969 square kilometers, a population of 782,766, and is the third smallest country on the continent. The country is sparsely populated and underdeveloped but has an abundance of untapped natural resources. Historically, the local private sector has been marginalized and dominated, first by the colonial government and the foreign private sector, then by successive postcolonial socialist-oriented governments that privileged state entrepreneurship and state economic control. In the latter half of the 1980s, a collapsing economy led to austerity measures by way of an IMF-enforced structural adjustment program, the abandonment of the atrophied socialist pathway, divestment and privatization of state-owned enterprises, and wooing of foreign investment through a policy of industrialization by invitation. Guyana’s entrepreneurial ecosystem is burdened by poor infrastructure, high taxes, excessive regulations, and inadequate financing for borrowing and investment. Much of Guyana’s local entrepreneurship is conducted in the informal sector and underground economy which have been spawning a revenant capitalist culture opposed to state control and paying taxes. Over the past five years, successive governments have been making positive policy pronouncements, privileging entrepreneurs, and primacy for the private sector. The discovery of large deposits of oil and natural gas in 2015 and subsequent production by a plethora of prominent transnational enterprises in 2020 have catapulted the country’s fortunes, making Guyana the fastest growing economy in the world and opening previously unimagined vistas for foreign and local entrepreneurs.


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  • Institution
    • Gainesville

  • Book title
    • Entrepreneurship in South America

  • Pagination
    • 135-153

  • Publisher
    • Springer Science and Business Media LLC

  • Date submitted

    4 April 2023

  • Rights statement
  • Digital Object Identifier (DOI) URL
  • Additional information