ORG looking to reach 500 MSMEs in northern Bahamas

ORG looking to reach 500 MSMEs in northern Bahamas
A Barefoot Marketing survey staff member calls MSMEs on Grand Bahama as part of a survey initiative of the Organization for Responsible Governance (ORG) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). (PHOTO: TIM AYLEN)

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The Organization for Responsible Governance (ORG) is seeking feedback from 500 entrepreneurs on Grand Bahama and Abaco on the challenges being faced by the dual crisis of Hurricane Dorian’s impact and the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Last November, ORG launched a survey on the two islands, specifically, as part of a wider collaborative effort with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).

It has since received up to 350 survey submissions, but program organizers said they are still looking for more.

ORG Education and Program Consultant Tiffany Bain-Saunders said: “We have called local businesses, emailed and texted some as well. Grand Bahama response has been very strong, but we are still in need of more Abaco feedback.

“We encourage all business owners to speak to our representatives or to visit our website — your voice is so important in this.”

She added: “It goes without saying that micro, small and midsize enterprises (MSMEs) are responsible for driving economic activity throughout the country. Being aware of their challenges is critical data that can be used to set policy and discover growth trends as well.”

In The Bahamas, 90 percent of all business owners fall into the category of small or medium-sized enterprises, with a significant number of them impacted negatively by the current economic conditions, according to ORG.

Saunders continued: “The dual crisis has forced many businesses to lay off staff, reduce their hours of operation, or worse. While we are all anecdotally aware of the challenges our economy has faced, we need MSME data recorded to make sure future decisions any government makes on how to help them is directed properly.”

The survey, which can be accessed by clicking this link, engages business owners on a wide range of issues like the impact of COVID-related restrictions, challenges with access to supplies after the hurricane and how the government has supported or hindered their capacity to remain open.

The survey is estimated to take 15 minutes, with anonymity for all companies.

Once compiled, the report of results will be presented to the Ministry of State for Finance and the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) to aid in future policies and legislation. The compiled information will also be shared utilizing ORG’s relationships with the SBDC, local Chambers of Commerce and NGOs.