NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The government is working with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to acquire up to $25 million in financing to further expand the work of the Small Business Development Centre (SBDC), according to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance K Peter Turnquest.
Turnquest announced the funding appeal at a recent town hall meeting in Grand Bahama; however, he told Eyewitness News that no final decision has been made with respect to the IDB funding.
“The government is working with the IDB for additional financing up $25 million to further expand this program,” he said.
“We are truly serious about empowering Bahamians and facilitating as many persons as we can. For this program to be sustainable it has to be continuously funded.”
The government has allocated $5 million annually to fund the SBDC’s operations, Turnquest said.
“We have leveraged that $5 million into additional money. We are now up to somewhere around $25 million,” he said.
“We should have available to us somewhere around $40-$50 million over a five year period available specifically for the empowerment of entrepreneurs. As we cross that five year mark hopefully it will start to be self sufficient.”
He added that returns on loans would be available to be reinvested in other start-ups.
“We are expecting a return through the economic stimulus, the employment and the community development that will happen. We want to create generational wealth,” he continued.
Turnquest again lamented this nation’s dependence on foreign direct investment as a key source of economic stimulus.
“We have yet to truly achieve economic independence. We depend too much on foreign direct investment to drive our economy. That means that you are dependent on someone else. I don’t like that. I think we have grown to the point where we can chart or own course and make our own decisions,” he said.