Nassau, September 21, 2018 – Bahamas – In keeping with the government’s promise to economically empower more Bahamians, Prime Minister Dr. the Hon. Hubert A. Minnis officially launched the Small Business Development Centre on Thursday, September 20, 2018.
Located at the Gladstone Freight Terminal off Gladstone Road, the SBDC came about through a partnership of the Ministry of Finance, University of The Bahamas, and the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers’ Confederation, who were all thanked by the Prime Minister. He also thanked Davinia Blair, the new Executive Director of SBDC, for her vision and energy in helping to realize the dream of this centre.
The Prime Minister touted the SBDC as an engine for fulfilling dreams and aspirations. He referenced the late US President Abraham Lincoln who said that the objective of government is to elevate the condition of men and to afford all an unfettered start and a fair chance in the race of life.
In 2017, the Free National Movement promised in its Manifesto to, as the government, foster an Opportunity and Shareholding Society to economically empower more Bahamians. And, the SBDC is one such avenue to foster opportunity, he said: “We took as a guiding principle, sustainable economic growth should be driven by Bahamian investment, and creativity, in tandem with strategic foreign direct investment.
“We believe that entrepreneurs are the primary drivers behind innovation and growth. We set as goals for our administration to stimulate Bahamian ownership, to create jobs, and to reduce poverty,” the Prime Minister said.
In order to achieve those goals, he said the government realized that it had to address the blockages that prevent Bahamian ownership, that stifle job creation, and that perpetuate poverty.
“The key, we realized, was access and opportunity,” he said. “Access to the kinds of opportunities that those who have traditionally succeeded in our economy often take for granted, including: good advice, help with planning and execution, contacts and networking, and of course, critically, access to capital. Access so often separates success from failure.”
According to the Prime Minister, the government has a role in helping entrepreneurs to gain access to the skills and resources needed for success. He also noted that like Bob Friedman, founder of “Prosperity Now”, who received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Microenterprise Development from President Bill Clinton in 1999 that his government sees in Bahamians “extraordinary potential” for wealth-creation.
The government allocated over $25 million to support micro–small and medium-sized businesses, including the establishment of the Access Accelerator Small Business Development Centre or SBDC.
“With the launch of the SBDC, we are working in a concrete, disciplined and logical fashion toward the well-being of more of our citizens,” the Prime Minister said.
“Our definition of financial well-being mirrors that of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in the United States.”
He said that his government made a promise to help foster an opportunity and shareholding society.
“Other ways that we are fostering an Opportunity Society include the groundbreaking Over-The-Hill initiative, and the Citizen Security and Justice Programme,” he said.
By Lindsay Thompson
Photo Caption: Prime Minister, Dr. the Hon. Hubert A. Minnis officially launched the Small Business Development Centre (SBDC) on Thursday, September 20, 2018 and is pictured giving his address. At the ceremonial Cutting of the Ribbon, Prime Minister and Mrs. Minnis, centre, celebrate the happy moment with Geoffrey Andrews, chairman of the Board of Directors, SBDC; and Davinia Blair, executive director, SBDC.
(BIS Photos/Yontalay Bowe)