By Abria Cooper
Prime Minister the Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis recently revealed plans to assists small businesses in
the near future during his last national address.
H stated that through the Access Accelerator-Small Business Development Centre, or SBDC, a
new small business grant programme has been launched to provide grants of up to $5,000 to
Bahamian entrepreneurs to start a business or to expand their small business. These are grants or
funds that these entrepreneurs get to fund a specific business need that they have.
These funds do not have to be repaid. To date, the SBDC has received over 400 applications
toward the $500,000 that has been budgeted for the programme.
“The response has been so positive, that the SBDC has shifted its budget to add an additional
$500,000 to the programme to bring the total programme allocation to $1 million,” he said.
Through this programme, individual entrepreneurs and micro-businesses will get equipment,
supplies and materials to allow them to start a business or to give their enterprise a boost.
The Prime Minister also shared the SBDC’s plans for a new youth based programme.
“I am pleased to say that shortly the SBDC will launch its Youth Programme that will provide
grants, loans, training and business support for Young Bahamians aged 18 to 30,” he said.
According to him the government and the SBDC recognizes that our young people have
incredible determination and drive. Many of them have a strong desire to work for themselves.
“My government wants to nurture their sense of entrepreneurship and ownership. The experience
of the SBDC is that young applicants also require substantial training and business support to
turn their dreams and ideas into viable and sustainable businesses,” he said.
Accordingly, the SBDC has budgeted the sum of $1.5 million in its new Youth Programme that
will provide grants, loans, training and business support for young entrepreneurs getting into
their first business or expanding their existing businesses.
They will be active participants in an extended programme over several months to ensure that the
young Bahamians in the programme get the funds that they need.
“We also help them to obtain the skills, support and sustainability measures that will help them
to remain as successful entrepreneurs over their lifetimes. In our three-plus years in office, my
government has provided unprecedented levels of support for Bahamian entrepreneurs. Since
coming to office, we have through the SBDC to date, provided some $52.7 million in loans and
grants to over 950 Bahamian micro- and small businesses,” he said.
This includes over $40 million in direct support for those that have been impacted by Hurricane
Dorian and the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Never before in the history of our country have Bahamian entrepreneurs obtained this kind of
direct small business support. We will be doing even more to create opportunities for Bahamians
entrepreneurs. You may recall that based on the recommendation of the Economic Recovery
Committee, I recently committed this government to $50 million per year in support for small
businesses over the next five years, for a total $250 million in support for Bahamian
entrepreneurship,” he said.
He added that the government will continue to set aside sums for specific segments of our
population to ensure that marginalized and under-represented groups in our Bahamas get specific
“Accordingly, of the $250 million five-year commitment, my government will set aside a
minimum of $25 million specifically for entrepreneurship programs geared toward Bahamian
youth and toward women. I wish to be clear, while there will be funds directly targeted for
certain segments, including young people, all Bahamians are eligible to seek grants,” he said.