Past recipients of Own Your Bahamas, otherwise known as OWN have reported tremendous growth and development in their ventures, thanks to grants from the venture capital fund which is a subsidiary of the Island Luck (IL) Cares Foundation.
Over the last two years, many Bahamian entrepreneurs have benefitted financially from the initiative and organic farmer Selima Hauber is one of them.
Hauber received a $10,000 grant through the program to enhance her business, Field to Fork Farm.
“The grant has enabled us to purchase a much needed piece of equipment that significantly increases the efficiency in which we prepare our fields,” Hauber said.
“The purchase of the equipment with the grant funds has contributed to building the capacity needed to increase our sales to restaurants. Since receiving the grant, our restaurant sales have increased 300%.
“Our new restaurant clients are extremely grateful to use our produce as losses due to spoilage have been eliminated, thereby increasing their earnings.”
Field to Fork Farm is a two-acre, mixed-vegetable organic farm located in the western district of New Providence.
“We are committed to using sustainable production methods with the intention of protecting the environment and consumer health.”
Dominique Hanna, owner of Icing Pastry and Catering said, “I heard about the OWN Bahamas programme through a friend.”
Mr. Hanna’s situation was unique. He said he had entered twice before becoming successful, as his first submission was late.
“So, I was trying to put my business proposal together. I didn’t know the time the proposal had to be submitted, so unfortunately, I entered it at the last minute.
“The next year I ensured I entered my business proposal on time,” Mr. Hanna told Eyewitness News.
Anxiously waiting to hear the status of his application, he said, “When I heard the initial response after checking my email, I actually won; I was so surprised.
“Aside from the assistance in business, the testimonies from previous winners helped me a lot. That was one of the best experiences I’ve had with the programme,” Mr. Hanna explained.
Mr. Hanna stated the exposure from OWN was critical as his product production and brand has gotten better.
“I was also able to take my experience to trade shows to exhibit my work.”
During the fourth installment of OWN, which was held at the British Colonial Hilton (BCH) last Month, qualified recipients were awarded grants up to $25,000.
In addition to funding, recipients also received business support and tools such as a laptop, courtesy of IL Cares, a cellphone, a professional website, business logo development and a media kit, inclusive of business cards, 100 posters and one banner.