Disney Cruise Lines has entered into an agreement with the Access Accelerator Small Business Development Center and the Eleuthera Chamber of Commerce to prepare startups and small businesses to participate in development projects underway in Central and South Eleuthera, including Disney’s Lighthouse Point project. Disney is providing more than $1 million to fund the initiative over three years. “Our organizations are coming together with the goal of empowering entrepreneurs and small businesses in Eleuthera and maximizing their economic opportunities for the long run,” said Jeff Vahle, president of Disney Cruise Line. He noted that “Disney is excited to be a part of this community and help create a more robust and resilient economy in Eleuthera.” The new facility in Rock Sound will house programs delivered in group and one-on-one settings by both the Access Accelerator Small Business Development Center and the Eleuthera Chamber. Services will include business development advisory services, business communication and customer service training, business mentorship and other seminars as well as programming designed to equip local businesses for success. The facility will also provide shared work space, high-speed internet, phone service and meeting rooms.
“This strategic partnership aligns perfectly with our goals to provide employment, create ownership opportunities and drive development in The Bahamas,” said Davinia Grant, Executive Director of the Access Accelerator, Small Business Development Centre. “Equipping our startups and small and medium-sized enterprises with effective new tools and training is an important step forward in our quest for sustainable growth and prosperity.” Disney Cruise Line Officials will have a small office in the facility to provide a convenient touch point between the company and local entrepreneurs, small businesses and community organizations. Executive Director of the Eleuthera Chamber of Commerce Candice Turnquest said, “This cooperative effort with Disney will not only help existing businesses grow and thrive but enable new ventures to get off the ground with some of the fundamental resources they need. She said, “Together we are able to present a unified program offering excellent training and services along with direct connectivity to ongoing economic projects in the region.”
Disney Cruise Line completed its purchase of privately owned Lighthouse Point in 2019 and signed an agreement with the Government of The Bahamas that guides the responsible development of the site. “This MOU is a model of what we hope to achieve in other communities throughout The Bahamas as we look to bring additional investment to the country,” said Minister of Finance, Deputy Prime Minister Hon. K Peter Turnquest. He noted “This is not just about creating jobs, this is about creating wholesome communities because at the end of the day when we have happy communities, we will have successful and profitable businesses.” Construction at Lighthouse Point will begin only after an Environmental Impact Assessment and Environmental Management Plan are reviewed and accepted by the Government, public consultation has occurred and all other necessary government permits and approvals have been granted.