The Access Accelerator, Small Business Development Centre (SBDC) has facilitated the disbursement of over $1 million to Bahamian micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) and is on target to provide an additional $1 million to ten other entrepreneurs before it turns one this September.
To date, 17 companies have received funding with assistance from the SBDC. Through the organization’s grant committee, bank loans and investments from the Bahamas Entrepreneurial Venture Fund, a total of $1,073,479 was directly invested into local Bahamian businesses. The economic impact of that investment has been calculated at $2.4 million.
SBDC Executive Director Davinia Blair called the disbursement of funds evidence of the organization’s continued work.
“Having reached over $1 million in disbursed funds is evidence that the organization is indeed at work and is successfully fulfilling its mandate,” said Blair. “Every time a company can successfully obtain financial backing, we see it as not only a direct investment into their dreams but also into The Bahamas.”
Blair continued, “The success of small businesses is important for a strong and sustainable economy. The more we can educate entrepreneurs and give them an opportunity to access necessary capital, the more we are strengthening The Bahamas.”
The 17 businesses represent the many industries within The Bahamas. Companies range from Bahamian-made ice creams and sorbets to a family island school offering a unique learning experience.
Vue-AV, an audio and visual company, is one of the benefactors of funding assistance from SBDC. Juan Bethel, the owner of Vue-AV, described the moment of being approved for funding as unreal.
“It was a surreal moment finding out that I had received funding. It also increased my responsibility to continue the journey of growing my company and making it profitable.”
Using the money to expand inventory and increase marketing, the entrepreneur said that SBDC assistance is invaluable and the organization makes him feel supported, confident and hopeful.
“The SBDC has prepared me to make the right moves. Also, I am not doing this alone because the SBDC is a resource center that I can and will use. This experience is awesome and I have confidence that once I prove myself with this funding, access to further funding for growth is now a realistic hope for my business.”
Bethel continued, “I feel supported by SBDC and that makes a huge difference in my pushing forward with positive expectations.”
SBDC is the product of a tripartite arrangement between the government, through the Ministry of Finance, University of The Bahamas and the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers’ Confederation (BCCEC). The center will work to guide the development, funding, growth and evolution of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in The Bahamas.