A Bahamian sorbet and ice cream brand has accessed more than $160,000 in financing with help from the Small Business Development Centre (SBDC).
Melissa Darville and Elvis Percentie, founders and chief executives of Shiver, described themselves as “excited” after obtaining $100,000 worth of loans from Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), together with a $50,000 equity investment from the Bahamas Entrepreneurial Venture Fund and $11,600 in grant funding from the government.
“I was driving when Melissa called to tell me that they announced we had received the funding,” said Mr Percentie. “I had to pull to the side of the road and check my phone just to see it for myself. I’m a numbers guy, so I’ve already started calculating where this and that would go, but it’s exciting and we’re grateful.”
Ms Darville said the duo were discussing how The Bahamas could aid business owners such as themselves before they joined the SBDC. They were initially unaware that the SBDC had a funding component, and joined solely for help with their business documents.
“We didn’t even know that the SBDC offered and assisted with funding. We just needed help with our paperwork, so when it was time for us to go to the bank we would be ready”, said Mr Percentie. “They surpassed our expectations, and we’re still flabbergasted by the amount of work that they put into assisting our company.”
Ms Darville added: “Through the SBDC we have access to expert accountants and experts in business; that’s something we can never pay for. Mr Percentie continued: “The amount of work they put in we would never be able to afford. Nicholas (SBDC senior business analyst) sometimes messages me at like 12am or 1am asking if I have certain documents. We appreciate that so much because they are working on our behalf.”
Shiver has been working with the SBDC since it opened last fall. “I’ve had people ask me about the SBDC, even ones currently enrolled”, said Mr Percentie. “Whenever they complain about the time of the process, I always say continue to push your business.”
Ms Darville added: “Businesses naturally take a while to develop, so continue to push your business while the SBDC is out there working for you. It’s not like they tell you not to do anything. Go out there and push your business, continue to work. They offer quality expert advice, and that alone is worth it.”
Winston Rolle, SBDC advisor for Shiver, said the company’s financing resulted from a team effort by the SBDC and will be used to grow its product.
“It’s great that Shiver is getting the funding they need to manufacture their product”, said Mr Rolle. “The product is great and is well received.
“The biggest issue has been meeting the demand for it. This funding allows them to meet demand, produce more and grow as a company. It is the mandate of the SBDC to assist MSMEs, and it’s good to be able to see the progress of the work.”
Davinia Blair, the SBDC’s executive director, added: “There was so much excitement amongst our team when we heard that Shiver was successful. We’ve been working tirelessly for them as we have for our other clients.
“A part of the work is advocacy with the government and continued partnerships with commercial banks. Whenever a client is successful, we are rewarded for that work.”
Shiver will be hiring three extra persons as a result of the funding they will receive, highlighting the economic impact that the SBDC hopes to have on the economy through its work.
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 Employer’s Confederation (BCCEC). The Centre works to guide the development, funding, growth and evolution of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in The Bahamas.