The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) officially opened on Thursday and begins connecting advisors with entrepreneurs today.
SBDC Executive Director Davinia Blair said training sessions for about 700 people begin today.
“Right now our immediate focus is our clients,” said Blair. “We have lots of people waiting and expecting. We have an amazing team, now it’s time to connect the advisors with the entrepreneurs.”
Blair said all of the services offered by the SBDC will be free.
Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis, who brought remarks at the official opening event, said the center was meant to build entrepreneurship in the country while expanding the economy through the introduction of new, innovative businesses.
“We believe that entrepreneurs are the primary drivers behind innovation and growth,” said Minnis.
“We set as a goal for our administration to stimulate Bahamian ownership to create jobs and to reduce poverty. In order to achieve this goal we realized that we had to address the blockages that prevent Bahamian ownership and stifle job creation.”
Blair said entrepreneurs will have to put in lots of work before they will be able to access any of the $5 million government has allocated for entrepreneurs.
“I don’t want anyone to think they are going to walk in one day and walk out with capital or a finished business plan,” Blair said.
She added that the SBDC’s policies follow that of the National Development Plan and that some of the businesses considered for capital will be those aligned with the plan and the needs of the country.
According to Blair, businesses focused on improving business through the use of technology are in high demand.
More than 950 people have signed up to be part of the SBDC and take advantage of its benefits.