More than 200 people apply for COVID-19 business loan

Small Business Development Centre (SBDC) Executive Director Davinia Grant

NASSAU, BAHAMAS- Some 250 persons have already signed up to access funding through the S said today.The funding is backed by a $20 million government allocation to help businesses stay afloat amid the COVID-19 fall-out and economic downturn.

Grant said: “We have around 250 persons who have already signed up and started the applications. We have 63 applications completed. Give its only been a day and a half that is quite significant.”

She told Eyewitness News there is no deadline to the application process.

“As long as there is allocation within that $20 million people can access it right up until the economy begins to rebound.”

Wednesday marked the first day of applications for the government’s Business Continuity Program.

The program allows micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) to apply for a loan for working capital to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The loan will reportedly have a low interest rate of five percent.

Eligible MSMEs must have been in operation for longer than one year, earn less than $3 million in revenue and have less than 50 employees.

“That group of businesses represent almost $2.9 billion in total turnover for 2019, almost 36,000 employees and 31,000 businesses,” Grant continued.

“Without trying to oversell their importance, the numbers speak for themselves. Small businesses employ a very large percentage of our entire workforce even though they may not contribute the lion share of the revenue.

“They take care of a lion share of the families. As a result, when we talk about the economy and wealth distribution we have to ensure that in this economic down turn and in the recovery, that w think about our SMEs because they have a direct impact on the majority of families represented in the country.”

Businesses will have five years to repay the loan.

A company with gross sales between zero and $100,000, would be eligible for a $5,000 monthly loan payout, which would amount to a total payout of $20,000 over the course of the four months the program is in effect.

This is tiered up to a total maximum loan amount of $300,000 over the course of the program.