Interest in business creation and entrepreneurship has greatly increased in the country, according to Bahamas Entrepreneurial Venture Fund Chairman Michael Cunningham, who said the fund has allocated more than $750,000 to special projects on New Providence with the help of the Access Accelerator/Small Business Development Centre (SBDC).
Cunningham, who was speaking at the press conference for the Bahamas Business Outlook (BBO) last week, said the fund, through recommendations from the SBDC, has also funded projects on the Family Islands.
According to Cunningham – who will be a speaker at BBO – the SBDC has improved the way entrepreneurs execute their ideas, adding that the education provided by the SBDC is paramount to the success of those businesses.
“I think interest in entrepreneurship has really increased tremendously. I think a lot of the things that were lacking, like education, SBDC has filled that role to provide that kind of education and guidance.
“We’re beginning to see greater success in getting these companies off the ground.”
Cunningham explained that the venture fund typically takes an equity stake in the businesses it funds, as opposed to giving grants or loans.
He said the fund typically enters into agreements for projects from $50,000 and higher.
He added that the fund has been given $2 million by the government to assist business owners on the islands affected by Hurricane Dorian. He explained that none of that $2 million has been dispersed as yet because of equity positions the fund takes in businesses. He noted that when the $2 million has been exhausted, the venture fund will likely receive another $2 million to assist businesses affected by Dorian.