The Access Accelerator Small Business Development Centre (Access Accelerator) will launch its digital operating system, registering its current clients into its new online platform starting May 4th, 2020.
The digital launch will take place in three parts, starting with onboarding. The system will give Bahamian entrepreneurs remote accessibility to all of the services that the Access Accelerator offers. For the organisation, it aims to decrease the backlog of businesses needing assistance.
The non-profit, quasi-government operated organisation helps entrepreneurs with business development. The Access Accelerator gives business owners free access to business advisory, training, incubation, mentorship and funding.
The move to an online system will allow for more client-controlled and efficient progress through the Access Accelerator’s program. Instead of waiting for class dates and working at the trainer’s pace, clients will be assessed and able to complete the program at their speed. The facilitating of advisory services and funding determinations will also be digital.
According to Davinia Grant, Executive Director of the Access Accelerator, the system will upgrade the entire operation of the organisation. “The move to a digital platform was necessary before the COVID-19 pandemic to better respond to the high demand for assistance,” Grant said. “We have over 6,000 micro, small and medium-sized enterprises reaching out to us with a team of fewer than 30 persons. The pandemic made the transition to an online system a national imperative.”
Grant continued, “our primary focus is to tackle the businesses that have already signed up and are waiting for assistance. The implementation of our digital system will help clients to be more dependent on themselves and streamline information for better operational procedures within the Access Accelerator.
“With over 45 service applications within the system, over time, we will improve our customer relationship management, online learning portal, marketing, financing, human resources and operations. This implementation will enhance each function of the Access Accelerator. We will be able to operate better as a cohesive unit.
“I think one of the most interesting introductions of the online system is that it will allow us to assess clients quicker. From the initial account creation, we will be able to easily understand where clients are and put them on the correct path to bettering themselves as entrepreneurs. Not all clients need the same level of help, and now we can meet the individual needs more rapidly.”
Nicholas Higgs, Deputy Director of the Access Accelerator, belives that the new system will allow the organisation to cater to the individual business owner.
Higgs said, “now, we have a firsthand experience with what different entrepreneurs within the country need and we’ve built around those needs to be as effective as possible. The Access Accelerator is not here to only facilitate funding but to create and nurture businesses that are sustainable and profitable. None of that is possible if we don’t cater to the individual entrepreneur.”
The Access Accelerator 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 Employers Confederation (BCCEC). The Centre works to guide the development, funding, growth, and evolution of Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (“MSMEs”) in The Bahamas.