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Venture fund has 10 viable, innovative projects in the pipeline

The Bahamas Entrepreneurial Venture Fund has about 10 viable and innovative business plans in the pipeline that the fund’s Chairman Michael Cunningham said will likely be funded.

He said two technology projects, two investment projects and two tourism-based projects “all look promising”.

He added that because the fund sees potential in many of these projects it has taken an equity stake in them, as opposed to providing a loan to the startups.

“This year has been an exceptional one in terms of the kinds of projects we see coming in, they have not been the traditional ones we have seen coming in in the past,” he said.

Cunningham said the fund should see good returns coming in from these projects as they become established.

According to him, the fund’s equity financing starts at $100,000 and is capped at $200,000.

A project that came out of the fund launched last month to great fanfare. Parrots of the Caribbean, an amphibious vehicle tour, was funded by the venture fund and is one of those projects expected to become a runaway success.

Cunningham said while the fund wants to see more projects come through its doors, many applicants fail because their business plans are often not up to standard.

He added that many businesses funded in the past have failed because of the owner’s inability to “crystallize the idea after launching”. This has led the fund to appoint a board to all of the businesses it funds. That board, said Cunningham, is expected to play an integral role in the business.

According to Cunningham, new entrepreneurs also fail to allocate funding for advertising, as many often do not see the value in it. But Cunningham said this is a grave mistake for new business owners to make.

And while the fund has not ignored the Family Islands, he said many entrepreneurs on the Family Islands do not take advantage of the opportunity.

He said on a recent trip to Grand Bahama the fund held a forum that was filed to capacity, but at the end of the day 20 applications were received, six business plans were viable, but only two were approved.

Senior Business Reporter at The Nassau Guardian
Chester Robards rejoined The Nassau Guardian in November 2017 as a senior business reporter. He has covered myriad topics and events for The Nassau Guardian.
Education: Florida International University, BS in Journalism
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