The Small Business Development Centre (SBDC) has almost 2,500 prospective entrepreneurs on a waiting list seeking to access the center’s services, SBDC Executive Director Davinia Blair said on Thursday following an informational seminar where it was revealed that the SBDC has partnered with the Bahamas Institute of Chartered Accountants (BICA).
Blair said the SBDC continues its informational sessions because it is clear that many people are not aware of its existence or what it does.
She said though, that the waiting list is so long at the moment that those signing up to access the SBDC’s services are likely to receive an appointment by November, while those with existing businesses might get appointment dates for September or October.
“We are trying to set businesses up for long-term, sustainable success,” she said.
“It’s a massive team being mobilized at this point to help small businesses. The interest in small business development is way more than we can support.”
Blair said Bahamians must
realize that with free services like those the SBDC offers, there is likely to be a wait. However, she urged those prospective entrepreneurs to be tenacious and endure the wait.
BICA has come on board to help entrepreneurs with their financials, which they will need to get through to the SBDC’s funding stage.
“We’re serving many people simultaneously,” said Blair.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest said the SBDC was designed to create new ideas, utilize indigenous resources and create unique services for local entrepreneurs.
“At the end of the day we are hoping it will deepen and diversify the economy,” said Turnquest.
He said the government wants to encourage Bahamians who feel marginalized, while also using the development of new businesses to grow government revenue.
Turnquest added that the government has committed to multi-year funding for the SBDC and is also encouraging foreign direct investors to utilize Bahamian entrepreneurs in their projects.