NASSAU,BAHAMAS – The Access Accelerator Small Business Development Centre (SBDC) along with the Ministry of Finance yesterday announced the award of grant funding to eight entrepreneurs whose businesses were impacted by Hurricane Dorian, with some 200 business persons having applied for funding thus far.
The exact amount awarded to the eight recipients was not disclosed. A three-year $10 million dollar loan guarantee and equity financing program has been 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.
Geoffrey Andrews, chairman of the SBDC said, “So far this initiative is still geared to entrepreneurs and businesses that would not normally qualify for regular bank credit. These are the first small business grants. There are several more who have already been approved and lots more in the pipeline.”
Charmaine Bonaby, registration advisor for the SBDC on Abaco stated, “Even prior to the hurricane the SBDC has had a great presence on Abaco for start-ups and existing businesses, helping them with business plans and helping the existing businesses to expand and any other advisory services deemed necessary. I have seen a great response particularly from Abaco businesses. I have seen many Abaco entrepreneurs interested in the program and eager to return hime and rebuild their businesses.”
Nicholas Higgs, Lead analyst for the SBDC program noted that some 200 businesses have applied for funding under the post-Dorian initiative thus far, with 1,200 SBDC clients between Abaco and Grand Bahama.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance K Peter Turnquest noted that the “one stop shop” foreshadowed by Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis should be established soon. The initiative will provide business assistance for Abaco and Grand Bahama and end the bureaucracy and red tape facing businesses.
“We are in the process of setting up our one stop shop in those affected islands. We anticipate that this process is going to streamline and make more efficient the whole process of getting into business and in this case reestablishing business. We look forward to that happening very shortly in both islands,” said Mr Turnquest.