The Access Accelerator, Small Business Development Centre has facilitated the disbursement of over one million dollars to Bahamian micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) and is on target
to provide an additional one million dollars to ten other entrepreneurs before its tuns one this September. To-date, seventeen companies have received funding with assistance from the SBDC. Through the
organization’s grant committee, bank loans and investments from the Bahamas Venture Fund, a total of $1,073,479 was directly invested into local Bahamian businesses. The economic impact of that investment has been calculated at $2.4 million.
Executive Director of the SBDC, Davinia Blair called the disbursement of funds evidence of the organization’s continued work. “Having reached over one million dollars in disbursed funds is evidence that the organization is indeed at work and is successfully fulfilling its mandate,” said Blair. Every time a company can successfully obtain
financial backing, we see it as not only a direct investment into their dreams but also into The Bahamas.” Blair continued, “the success of small businesses is important for a strong and sustainable economy. The more we can educate entrepreneurs and give them an opportunity to access necessary capital, the more we are strengthening The Bahamas.” The 17 businesses represent the many industries within The Bahamas. Companies range from Bahamian made ice creams and sorbets to a family island school offering a unique learning experience.
Vue-AV, an audio and visual company, is one of the benefactors of funding assistance from the SBDC. Juan Bethel, the owner of Vue-AV, described the moment of being approved for funding as unreal.
“It was a surreal moment finding out that I had received funding. It also increased my responsibility to continue the journey of growing my company and making it profitable.” Using the money to expand inventory and increase marketing, the entrepreneur said that the SBDC
assistance is invaluable, and the organization makes him feel supported, confident and hopeful. “The SBDC has prepared me to make the right moves. Also, I am not doing this alone because the SBDC is
a resource centre that I can and will use. This experience is awesome, and I have confidence that once I prove myself with this funding, access to further funding for growth is now a realistic hope for my
Bethel continued, “I feel supported by SBDC, and that makes a huge difference in my pushing forward with positive expectations.” The SBDC is the product of a tripartite arrangement between the Government, through the Ministry of Finance, University of The Bahamas (UB) and the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employer’s Confederation (BCCEC). The Centre will work to guide the development, funding, growth, and evolution of Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (“MSMEs”) in The Bahamas.