The Access Accelerator, Small Business Development Centre (SBDC) hosted its first cashless showcase for clients to promote and sell their products and services.
Over 40 vendors participated in the event at the SBDC’s office located at the Gladstone Freight Terminal. In attendance was Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Peter Turnquest, USA Charge d’Affaires Stephanie Bowers, Chairman of the board of the SBDC, Geoffery Andrews, Executive Director of the SBDC, Davinia Grant, Chairwoman of the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation, Khrystle Rutherford-Ferguson along with members of the SBDC board.
The cashless system of the event was powered by Kanoo, the newest digital wallet of The Bahamas. Using the digital system, consumers were able to put cash into their Kanoo digital wallets and pay SBDC merchants with a scan of their phone.
The decision to make the event cashless came about as the SBDC moves into investing more into digital platforms to help the organization and its entrepreneurs.
Davinia Grant, Executive Director of the SBDC, said, “The decision to go cashless for this event was to test out how a small group of merchants were able to handle another form of currency. It also introduced many of them to an alternative digital system that can be beneficial to their businesses. We are in a digital world and we must ensure that we keep entrepreneurs aware of the possibilities for advancing their companies.
“With the use of cash comes many challenges and associated fees. Whereas, with digital movement of money we take away a lot of the risk and headaches of dealing with cash. While, this event tested about 23 out of the 48 vendors we had participating, it showed that Bahamian consumers are too willing and able to use digital payment applications.”
Keith Davies, Chief Executive Officer of Kanoo, expressed gratitude to the SBDC for allowing the digital wallet to be used as the payment facilitator at the event.
“It’s a great achievement for us to be working with the SBDC. It was a massive effort, but we got it done because that’s what we do,” Davies said. “To be a part of this event is to provide merchants with tools that allow their businesses to thrive. Cash is something that comes with costs attached therefore, if you have a digital solution, we call it safe, easy, cashless, it allows them to do things a lot easier, faster, cheaper, quicker.”
He continued, “At the end of the day we want merchants to understand that we are here, we are operational and that we have a solution for them from a cashless perspective. Kanoo is designed for what I call the long tier, those small to medium-sized businesses. Of course, we have solutions for larger businesses, but small businesses are our niche.”
In 2020 Grant hopes to continue pushing the use of technology solutions while educating entrepreneurs on ways their businesses can benefit from them.
Grant said, “This cashless showcase is just the beginning of the SBDC increasing the use of technology within our services and educating entrepreneurs on how to adapt to the digital era. We want to really embrace all that technology is allowing micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) to do. With The Bahamas being an archipelago and our goal to reach and help as many Bahamian entrepreneurs as we possibly can, we are looking forward to exploring and implementing more digital solutions in 2020.”
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 Employers
Confederation (BCCEC). The Centre will work to guide the development, funding, growth, and evolution
of Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (“MSMEs”) in The Bahamas.