Alvernia Business Consulting (ABC Bahamas Ltd.) received $112,500 in investment loans from the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) through the Access Accelerator, Small Business Development Centre (SBDC).
ABC Bahamas Ltd. is a boutique Information Technology (I.T.) service provider specializing in Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SME) technologies and support. The tech company leads and assists with technical support, procurement and implementations.
James Woodside started ABC Bahamas Ltd. in 2003 after completing his Computer Repair Program at the Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute (BTVI). After graduation, he travelled to Cat Island to assist his grandparents, but it ended up being the start of his own business.
Woodside reflects, “My grand-aunt took me straight from the airport to the District Superintendent’s office for education and he was ecstatic to have a young person on the island who could help them repair and maintain the local school labs.
“Through their encouragement and support, I was able to build my experience and earn some income. Because of their support, other businesses and individuals on Cat Island, they inspired me to name the company after Mt. Alvernia, a local Bahamian landmark.”
From 2003 to 2013, Woodside worked with many local businesses and travelled abroad to complete technical training and earn certifications. In 2013, Alvernia Business Consulting became incorporated. From the feedback from past clients, Woodside developed his business to meet the present and anticipate the future needs of local Bahamian businesses and continues to.
ABC Bahamas Ltd. reached out to Access Accelerator after seeing an ad on Facebook to further expand the company’s services. To better provide key technology for SMEs the tech company needs to build its own infrastructure to implement the technology. With the funds accessed through the organization, ABC Bahamas Ltd. will bring the new products to market.
“Receiving funding feels awesome,” said Woodside. “I’m grateful to have completed the process and see that the SBDC and RBC believe that we can assist our nation with its technological endeavours.”
Currently, the company provides network designs and implementations, virtualization, private clouds, offsite backups, new office setups, office migrations, custom application deployments, software upgrades, computer lab repairs, point to point and point to multi-point wireless, IP surveillance, IP Telephony deployments, structured cabling, electronic document management, security assessments and business continuity planning.
The technology company tried seeking capital before joining the SBDC but found it difficult.
Woodside said, “Accessing capital as a service-based company is next to impossible unless you already have funds or personal assets equaling in value to the amount requested. Most banks that I’ve approached required 100 per cent equity financing for business loans.”
ABC Bahamas Ltd. believes in creating mutually beneficial relationships with its clients to ensure that they thrive together.
“We want to ensure that both, the client and our company, continue to grow sustainably. The symbiotic approach is working, and we have already seen how this approach is helping our clients expand into new areas.”
It’s these partnerships that motivate the young technician, “They inspire me. When the fruit of our services not only benefits Alvernia Business Consulting but our nation.”
The entrepreneur said that he would tell other entrepreneurs to join the SBDC because it’s more than just money.
“It’s more than just financing. It’s important to hear constructive feedback on your business idea, even if you are already in business. Many business ideas are great, but not sustainable in our local markets. We cannot overlook being challenged to qualify and quantify what it would require to build a profitable business in The Bahamas.
Woodside continued, “Having your idea vetted and fine-tuned is well worth the experience.”
Though the process wasn’t easy, the entrepreneur believes that it was worth the challenge.
“Sometimes when business owners like myself love what we do, we don’t take the time to ensure documentation and verification of our business strategy and processes. As the saying goes, ‘love doesn’t pay bills’”.
He continued, “Looking back, being assigned a business advisor was a double-edge sword but necessary. Assessing your business as a whole and documenting your long-term strategy was taxing and frustrating. But measuring 100 times to cut once is ultimately worth it.”
The SBDC is the product of a tripartite arrangement between the Government, through the Ministry of Finance, University of The Bahamas (UB) and the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation (BCCEC). The Centre will work to guide the development, funding, growth, and evolution of Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (“MSMEs”) in The Bahamas.