$10 million program to assist SMEs impacted by Hurricane Dorian

$10 million program to assist SMEs impacted by Hurricane Dorian

Some 2,500 SMEs likely affected by Dorian

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The Access Accelerator Small Business Development Centre (SBDC) along with the Ministry of Finance and private financial partners is offering a ‘one stop shop’ to assist small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) impacted by Hurricane Dorian with loans and grants which will help them resume their operations as quickly as possible.

According to Davinia Grant, the SBDC’s executive director some 2,500 SMEs were affected by Hurricane Dorian.

Speaking at a press conference at the Cecil Wallace-Whitfield building yesterday, she said: “Based on the information provided by the Department of Inland Revenue we expect that there are about 2,500 SMEs which could have been impacted by the storm. We expect the lion share to reach out for assistance.

“In terms of our existing clients we are talking somewhere around 1,000 to 1,300 between Grand Bahama and Abaco. They have already been reaching out to us and they are ready for this assistance,” said Grant.

A three-year $10 million dollar loan guarantee and equity financing program is being established to allow eligible Bahamian SMEs to secure up to $500,000 in financing, in an effort to restore existing businesses impacted by the Hurricane, as well as to create new businesses. That money is being taken from the dormant accounts fund.

Money given the SBDC will be 75 per cent government guaranteed loan, 20 per cent equity partnership and five per cent government grant with a $5,000 limit.

Companies operating for more than three years will be required to complete an application process and submit and executive summary to move to the review stage of the process to access funds. Existing businesses making under $100,000 in revenue must present a copy of their business license and bank statements.

Companies earning more than $100,000 in income mist submit their VAT filings. The SBDC’s private financial partners have agreed to a four to five day turnaround for applications once approved by the SBDC.

Geoffrey Andrews, chairman of the SBDC said: “The emphasis of the plan is to support the remobilization of micro, small and medium sized businesses. Pre-Dorian they employed 4,000 persons across GB and Abaco. MSME’s are the backbone of many of these communities affected and so to restore the communities, we must restore the businesses.”

Deputy prime Minister K Peter Turnquest said the government believes the $10 million allocation will go a long way to getting those affected businesses unable recover through insurance or some other financing method.

He also noted that the government has already allocated $5 million to SME development, bringing its total financial commitment to the sector to $15 million.

Turnquest underscored it is imperative that economies in Abaco and Grand Bahama get back up and running.