The Government of The Bahamas is now issuing Business Continuity Grants to small and medium-sized enterprises through its COVID-19 relief initiative, the Business Continuity Loan Program. That initiative will be managed by the Access Accelerator Small Business Development Centre.
The Hon. K. Peter Turnquest, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, explained in the House of Assembly that in addition to loans offered through the Business Continuity Loan Program, small businesses can now access grants for payroll assistance.
“As a reminder, for businesses that make less than $3 million annually, the Access Accelerator is currently providing support through a Business Continuity Loan Program. I am pleased to announce, however, that as an additional measure, specifically targeted towards payroll assistance, the Government is offering a grant of between $2,000 to $20,000 for MSMEs who qualify for a Business Continuity Loan to assist with payroll. We are allocating an additional $5 million to finance this initiative,” Turnquest said.
These grants offered by the Government through the Business Continuity Loan Program are non-reimbursable, so business owners will not have to pay the Government back. Davinia Grant, Executive Director of the Access Accelerator, stressed that the maximum available in grant funding is $20,000. She added that all grants are attached to a loan which allows for businesses to access necessary financing but have less to repay.
Grant said, “We commend the Government for giving small business owners even more opportunities to sustain themselves as we brace for the economic impact of COVID-19. The grants will be attached to a loan, which means that we will not issue grants by themselves. The overall funding will be 50 percent grant and 50 percent loan or $20,000 in grant funding and the remaining amount facilitated through a loan.
“The addition of the $5 million for grants will allow entrepreneurs to access much-needed funding but not having to pay the grant portion back will allow them to stretch their resources. It’s an addition to the program that we are grateful for, and I’m sure many entrepreneurs will be too.”
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.