Micro, Small, and Midsize enterprises (MSMEs), have long been considered the key economic drivers of any strong economy. In The Bahamas, companies falling into these categories represent over 90% of businesses across the country.
In recent months,however, these businesses – particularly those in the Northern Bahamas – have struggled to navigate difficult economic times brought on from the destruction of Hurricane Dorian in September 2019 and then the widespread impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
The dual crisis has seen scores of once-thriving enterprises make the difficult to decision to lay off staff, open part-time, or worse, close their businesses altogether. Over the next few weeks, however, a new collaborative effort between The Organization for Responsible Governance (ORG) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), will give small businesses on Grand Bahama and Abaco specifically, a platform to outline their current challenges via an online survey. The results of the study will help to determine the effectiveness of current and past efforts utilized to assist MSMEs through the crisis.
The survey can be found at ORGs website- orgbahamas.com/sme.
“The survey will officially launch on Thursday, November 19th ,” explained ORG Executive Director, Matt Aubry. “Over three weeks, we will engage these business owners on a wide range of issues like the impact of COVID related restrictions, challenges with access to supplies after the Hurricane and how government support has affected their capacity to remain open.”, he noted.
Utilizing ORG’s relationships with the Small Business Development Center, local Chambers of Commerce, and NGO’s, the survey will be broadcast to multiple networks for completion. The survey is estimated to take 15 minutes, with anonymity for all companies. The report of results will be presented to the Ministry of Finance and the Small Business Development Center to aid future policies and legislation to garner foster sustainability and resilience of MSME’s, particularly in the instance of emergencies.
ORG had engaged Barefoot Marketing to assist them in an media campaign designed to raise awareness about the initiative, and to conduct phone surveys to help participants have even greater access to participate in the study. “We understand that many businesses may have had to relocate to smaller spaces or have transitioned into home businesses,” noted Tiffany Bain, ORG’s Research Officer on the project.
“It is critical that we secure a broad and representative sample of the MSMEs that made up much of the economy in Abaco and Grand Bahama to gain meaningful and relevant information. We encourage everyone on these islands to share the survey and assist us in reaching all.”