The government revealed yesterday that two Canadian commercial banks signed on to be financial partners for the Access Accelerator/Small Business Development Centre’s (SBDC) capital funding program for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), bringing the total initial seed funding up to $9 million from $5 million.
A press release issued by the Ministry of Finance yesterday explained that the announcement “represents the largest single allocation of investment funds for Bahamian entrepreneurs ever made”.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest said during the press conference to introduce the financial partners, that the government has made good on its promise to allocate funding to small business development. The government has committed $25 million over a five-year period.
“When I presented the government’s budget last June, we announced an allocation $5.5 million for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises,” said Turnquest.
“We promised this money would go directly to entrepreneurs. Today, we are making good on that promise. And thanks to the tremendous efforts of the SBDC and its partners, we are delivering even more.”
The government announced the commitment of Scotiabank and Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) to joining the Bahamas Entrepreneurial Venture Fund and Bahamas Development Bank (BDB) as funding partners.
“By bringing in additional funding from our partners, we leveraged the government’s $5.5 million to secure up to $9 million in capital financing for small businesses across The Bahamas,” said Turnquest.
The official signing between the banks and the Access Accelerator/SBDC took place last week on Grand Bahama, at the launch of its SBDC’s northern Bahamas operation.
Capital is available through the program by way of government guaranteed loans; grants, especially for impoverished young Bahamians; and through equity financing, which is available from $20,000 to $50,000, but can increase up to $100,000.
“I’d like other private commercial banks and financial institutions to take note, because we expect this initiative to create a fundamental shift in the way the banking sector sees small businesses in this country.” Turnquest said.
“The partners you see here today are leading the charge and we expect others to follow.”