Own Bahamas Foundation conducting needs assessments with entrepreneurs affected by Hurricane Dorian

Own Bahamas Foundation conducting needs assessments with entrepreneurs affected by Hurricane Dorian

Initial assessments completed in Grand Bahama, entrepreneurs from Abaco invited to participate in Nassau

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The OWN Bahamas Foundation is conducting needs assessments with entrepreneurs from Abaco and Grand Bahama to guide its support for small business owners in the wake of Hurricane Dorian. The foundation has already completed initial assessments in Grand Bahama—including meetings with key stakeholders and hosting two focus groups with a cross-section of entrepreneurs.

Members of the OWN Bahamas Foundation council traveled to Grand Bahama on Thursday, October 3rd, 2019, to meet with small business owners who have been affected by Hurricane Dorian.

Council members facilitated two focus groups in Grand Bahama, with entrepreneurs representing industries from clothing retail to bio-fuel production. The focus groups were held to gather qualitative data on the impact of Dorian on small business owners, efforts on the ground to assist in the recovery, and how the foundation can amplify these efforts.

“The OWN Bahamas Foundation has funded over $1 million in grants and programing for Bahamian entrepreneurs. Every year we hold a grant competition; however, this year, significant resources were shifted to assist in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Dorian,” said OWN Bahamas Foundation founder, Sebas Bastian.

“As we plan for recovery in the mid and long-term, we want to ensure that our support for entrepreneurs who have been affected by the storm is both strategic and effective.”

Council members also met with representatives from the East Grand Bahama Association, as well as the Invest Grand Bahama Small Business Bureau, to gain further insights and to examine the possibility of combining efforts. Both the association and the bureau are engaged in more comprehensive needs assessment efforts, which will guide an integrated approach to deploying support as recovery and reconstruction continue.

“Small and medium-sized enterprises are the engines that drive the Bahamian economy. After natural disasters of this magnitude, recovery efforts often focus exclusively on reconstructing housing for obvious reasons. But, we also need to ensure that the anchor facilities, essential services, and SMEs return to support the quality of life in these communities as we rebuild,” said Bastian.

The foundation is working to build a holistic strategy of support for entrepreneurs that leverages the full breadth of its programming—including existing programs like the small business grants and OWN Talks speaker series, as well as opportunities for providing advisory services and advocacy on behalf of small business owners. Results of the needs assessments, along with the final strategy will be made public once completed.

To engage entrepreneurs from Abaco that have been displaced by Hurricane Dorian, the foundation plans to hold similar focus groups in New Providence on October 17th, 2019.

The foundation invites those interested in participating to email their name, phone number, the name of their business, and the industry they represent to info@ownyourbahamas.com. Confirmation of the time and place will be made via phone and email.