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Entrepreneurs outline top challenges in survey

The cost of expansion, finding new customers, the ongoing cost of doing business in The Bahamas and finding quality employees are among the top challenges for entrepreneurs in this country, after the costs associated with starting a business and government red tape, an OWN Bahamas Foundation survey reveals.

The foundation sent out a press release explaining that it conducted an online survey of 494 entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs.

“The survey was distributed to over 1,500 participants in the foundation’s popular motivational speakers’ event, which draws crowds numbering in the thousands,” the release states.

“When asked about their entrepreneurship, current business owners revealed that on average, they have been in business for one to three years. The top five industries for these entrepreneurs include general retail, food and beverage, hair, nails and cosmetics, culture and manufacturing.

“For these entrepreneurs, the three biggest obstacles to starting their business were raising the start-up capital, the cost of doing business in The Bahamas and government red tape, in that order.”

The survey further reveals that license fees, taxes and energy costs continue to stymie small business owners, who also complained that one of the hurdles in a country with such a small population is finding new customers.

Those entrepreneurs explained that marketing topped the list of crucial services, “with 72 percent of participants acknowledging the need, and 54 percent stating that the lion’s share of their professional services spending goes to marketing”. The survey shows that accounting is the second most important need, with 51 percent of the entrepreneurs explaining that they need the service.

According to the release, 64 percent of the business owners cite the possibility of building a better life for their families as the motivation to keep their businesses going.

“When asked what they would do differently if they could start their business over again, 35 percent said they would have started sooner and 24 percent said they would have raised more startup capital,” the press release notes.

“As for those who have not yet become business owners, a lack of personal savings was the most common reason for not starting a business, according to 52 percent of the participants surveyed.”

Sebastian Bastian, CEO of Island Luck, from which the OWN Bahamas Foundation was spawned, said the main goal of the foundation “is to assist Bahamians with financial support, mentorship, skills and business know-how, while advocating for the removal of barriers that may prevent small start-up businesses from succeeding.”

To date, the OWN Bahamas Foundation has given more than $750,000 to 38 grant recipients, according to the release.

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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