The Cookie Caterer successfully obtained $75,000 in loan investments from Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) through the Access Accelerator, Small Business Development Centre (SBDC).The Cookie Caterer is a local bakery that sells and specialises in homemade, freshly baked cookies with an option for customisation and delivery directly to the customer. Gregory Collie started the bakery from his home in 2012. A fan of sweets, Collie started experimenting with cookies just for personal enjoyment.
“I am what most Bahamian would call ‘sweet mouth’,” Collie said. “Back in 2011, I started experimenting with making cookies from scratch. At the time I wasn’t selling cookies because I had a full-time job so I was making them to eat during football games or I would give them away to friends and family.” Encouraged by family and friends to sell his sweet treats, Collie constantly declined because he didn’t see the need. However, in 2012, the baker lost his job and turned to his sweet tooth for comfort and as an avenue to create revenue. With just a Facebook page and pictures of the cookies, the Cookie Caterer was born. (Having been) in business at the time for six years, Collie heard about the SBDC and determined that he had nothing to lose as he was on a quest for funding.
The entrepreneur said, “The organisation was providing an opportunity for funding. Funding is one of the most important things needed for entrepreneurs to start or grow their business. At that point, I was looking to grow the business so funding would have served us well. I felt like I had nothing to lose and everything to gain, so we joined the SBDC.” Gain is exactly what The Cookie Caterer did. Now a recipient of funding from RBC, the bakery can execute its plans and reach its goals sooner and better than before.
Collie said, “We already had plans of expansion, so the funding now provides the cash to buy more equipment and better equipment to upgrade what we have. We will also be able to secure new locations that we wouldn’t be able to at this point. “The goal for us is expansion. We want to grow, we want a lot more locations, we want to afford more of the population an opportunity to have their hands and mouths on our products. By doing this, we also want to hire as many Bahamians as we can in the process.”
Already telling other entrepreneurs about the organisation, Collie credits one of the SBDC’s programs, RBC Pitch Night, for preparing him to present his company to investors. “I tell people about the SBDC because it’s a great learning experience,” Collie said. “The RBC Pitch Night really helped me to be ready for the actual pitching of my company. I had never pitched before, so the event gave me that experience of pitching in front of investors. Also, the questions asked after the pitch helped me to have more insight into what exactly investors are looking for and the things they like to hear.
“The SBDC is also providing entrepreneurs with an opportunity to access funding and we all know how important funding is to not only start-up businesses but for businesses are already in existence to help them grow and expand.” 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 Employers 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.