A ceremony celebrating the 53 micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) that have been approved for the Women Entrepreneurs Standalone Grant was held at the Small Business Development Centre (SBDC), Monday, June 19, 2023. The enterprises will receive funding for up to $10,000.
Samantha Rolle, Executive Director, SBDC explained that the Women Entrepreneurs Initiative is a collaboration between the SBDC, the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce (BCCEC) and the Bahamas Development Bank.
“The purpose of the grant is to ensure that women in The Bahamas are given the opportunity to access much-needed capital to start or grow their business.
She said the 53 grant recipients represent women business owners across an array of industries on the island of New Providence.
The Executive Director grant recipients from the islands of Grand Bahama, Abaco, Andros, Cat Island, Eleuthera, Exuma and other Family Islands will be announced within the coming weeks.
“Women have made significant strides in entrepreneurship and new venture creation over the past three decades. Still the number of businesses currently owned by women is significantly lower than the number of businesses owned by men in many developing countries.”
She said in April 2023, the SBDC conducted a national survey to assess gender equality and how it is perceived by women in the country.
“Based on the survey responses that we received 61 per cent of women believe that women have equal access to entrepreneurial funding,” the Executive Director said.
“Also noteworthy, 98 per cent of women rate their optimism level about improving the Bahamian economy at five or above, while 61 per cent of women rated their fear of failure as a five or above.”
She said while these numbers indicate that many women believe there is a disparity between women and men relative to entrepreneurial funding, there is a silver lining in the optimism women have about their ability to positively impact the economy, and the MSME sector at large.
Also, in attendance at the event were Khrystle Rutherford-Ferguson, Chairman, BCCEC and Phyllice Bethel, Interim Deputy Executive Director, SBDC.
By LLONELLA GILBERT/Bahamas Information Services