The Small Business Development Centre (SBDC)/Access Accelerator has put $786,000 into the hands of 13 entrepreneurs and has advised 752 clients across The Bahamas.
According to an SBDC press release, entrepreneur Don Brown’s company Wonder Tech, which fixes mobile phone and tablet screens on-the-go, received $6,000 from the Bahamas Development Bank (BDB) “with favorable terms through the Access Accelerator/SBDC”.
The release also tells the story of Green Corporate Services’ Founder Albertha Rolle, who received $15,000 from the BDB. Her company provides business management consultancy services.
It also outlines entrepreneur Kelsey Bridgewater’s receipt of $15,000 in loans from the BDB “to purchase boat engines and materials that will help to expand his excursion business”.
The release further reveals how these business owners came to create the businesses they have.
“Don Brown of Wonder Tech was sitting down to watch ‘The Rock’ wrestle when his wrangling led to a [broken] television cord. His mother was understandably unhappy with this interruption and Don had to find a way to appease her… ‘I can fix it,’ he exclaimed, and proceeded to do so,” the release states.
“Almost 20 years later, Don has turned his passion for fixing things into a business that keeps people connected, fixing cell phone and tablet screens affordably and with delivery.”
The release adds: “Through her company’s business management consultancy services, Albertha was able to help a former inmate navigate the business license process to start his own business successfully.”
It also tells the story of how Bridgewater’s father had taken his Exuma-raised children boating ever since they were small.
“Kelsey dove for his first lobster at 12 years old and never forgot the feeling of immense pride and satisfaction he felt,” the release states.
The Access Accelerator and its business advisors, staff and board members held a private celebration with the entrepreneurs on Monday to mark their success.
“The Bahamas Entrepreneurial Venture Fund was also present, having offered equity funding to several of the entrepreneurs being celebrated that night,” the release states.
The businesses included “Island Breeze, founder Kelsey Bridgewater; Better Days Pizzeria, founder Petula Clammons-Henfield; WonderTech, founder Don Brown; Exuma Christian Academy, founder Keniqua Burrows; Pulpy, founders Shaquille and Anthonique Coleby; Fineena Artis, founder Donaita Outten; A Stitch in Time, founder Jennis Thompson; Jujukanoo, founders Vanessa Miller and Kevin Knowles; Greene Corporate Services, founder Albertha Rolle; Remarkable Carz Rental Service, founder Brian Williams; Vue AV, founder Juan Bethel; Shiver, founders Elvis Percentie and Melissa Darville; and Drive Greene, founder Benjamin Davis”.
The Access Accelerator’s Executive Director Davinia Blair said many of those business owners had been seeking funding for a long time, but were only able to be successfully funded with the help of the Accelerator.
“These companies are now going to hire Bahamians, expand their work and increase their revenue,” Blair said.
“This was our objective when we started and it feels good to be here. There are 55 business plans in the pipeline and we trust that some $7 million will be approved for funding by the end of the year.”
The release explains that money obtained by the firms is “paid directly to the various vendors and institutions that the client has identified in their business plan”.
“No money goes to the individual and this is what makes the SBDC different than any other government-funded program,” the release states.