The e-commerce and technology industries are billion-dollar sectors globally, employing millions of creative professionals and changing the course and structure of financial services.
Chairman of the E-commerce Advisory of the Bahamas Edison Sumner says that it is against this backdrop that they are keen on providing grants and opportunities to tech hubs and entrepreneurs.
“We established a technology and innovations grant to support those SME’s (small and medium enterprise) throughout the country to assist them in areas.
“Whether they wish to establish an ecommerce platform or a digital payments gateway or developing a website or something of that nature where these companies are able to employ innovative technological initiatives in their businesses… or to employ some innovative ideas to cause the business to grow.
“So, we have put aside some support for those kinds of businesses, SME’s particularly” he said.
Sumner explains that the funding is even more significant as the Bahamas prepares to become a tech hub.
The ongoing covid-19 pandemic also prompted the acceleration and creation of ecommerce platforms.
“It is happening now in serendipity really where we are now being required to adapt quickly to technological changes.
“We were seeing it happen prior to covid. but once covid became a pandemic then we saw where a lot of businesses were trying to migrate their services into digital platforms” he said.
The E-commerce Advisory Board, which is based out of Freeport Grand Bahama is partnering with the Small Business Development Centre of the Bahamas to manage the grant scheme.
“You can apply to a grant facility from $2500 up to $5000 in a matching facility. What makes an enterprise eligible is businesses with fewer than 20 employees full time employees can apply.
“They must have a valid business license because that’s important. they must have a completed VAT registration even if they are not filing annual returns, they must have nib registration, as well.
“And they have to have an annual turnover of less than 250 thousand dollars because anything over that then you are considered to be out of the bracket of what is considered to be a smaller micro size enterprise.
Interested businesspersons can now apply online for the funding. Officials of the small business development center will also vet applicants and successful applicants will be notified.