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2019 Target for SME Act

The Bahamas Small and Medium-Size Enterprise (SME) Development Act is expected to be brought to the House of Assembly next year and is expected to stimulate economic growth in the SME sector, according to business consultant Mark Turnquest, who prepared a proposed structure for the act.

His framework explains that the SME Act should be enforced and supervised by the Small Business Development Center (SBDC).

Turnquest explained in the proposed framework that market research has been done to garner how SME owners would like to see business development activities improve and progress in this country, and they also gave recommendations on how a body like the SBDC should go about helping to make SMEs successful.

“Public and private sector executives were selected to SBDC’s board. Members of this board are mandated not to make decisions based on negative political, gender or cultural motives,” the document said. “Government, SBDC’S board, along with the business community, will have the authority to make recommendations on how to modify particulars of the SME Act based on economic conditions or the request of stakeholders.

“It is recommended that a strategic plan should be developed on how SBDC would be properly structured (in a Bahamian context) so that it can operate in an effective and efficient manner.”

Turnquest explains in his document that the SME Act should provide the foundation on how to improve the economic conditions of The Bahamas. And from an international perspective, attract foreign investors who want to partner Bahamian SMEs in fields like e-commerce, manufacturing, agriculture and information technology.

“These industries are tremendously underserved and underdeveloped,” Turnquest said.

“These types of investments would diversify the Bahamian economy, which, to its peril, relies too heavily on the tourism and financial services sectors.

“The SME Act will revitalize the entrepreneurial spirit on all islands of The Bahamas.”

Turnquest said he hopes the SME Act will “synchronize and unify” the efforts of the government, lending institutions, NGOs and SMEs in stimulating small business development in The Bahamas.

He added that the act will, most importantly, identify how local and international investors and entrepreneurs can qualify for incentive and stimulus programs when it comes to financing and developing innovative products and services.