The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Labs is providing a grant of more than half a million dollar to the Access Accelerator/Small Business Development Centre’s (SBDC) “Accelerate Bahamas!” program, which is geared towards providing further support to Bahamian entrepreneurs.
An SBDC official has termed the grant “non-reimbursable”, specifying that it will not have to be repaid but that SBDC will be required to meet certain criteria under the agreement.
“With this technical cooperation, IDB Labs will provide $600,000 towards a $1.3 million technical cooperation with the Small Business Development Centre in The Bahamas,” said Daniela Carrera Marquis, IDB Bahamas’ country representative, during a signing ceremony at IDB House on East Bay Street yesterday.
She added, “The project seeks to achieve some of the following results: it targets around 2,500 SMEs (small to medium-sized enterprises) and startups to improve their capacity to scale their businesses as a result of any advisory, mentoring or training transactions with the Small Business Development Centre; around 400 businesses receiving financing through the platform; 95 percent of businesses engaged with the center has improved digital capacity and have incorporated at least one technological solutions in their businesses; it expects to achieve around 500 job creations that would be generated through the increased capacity of these businesses and the access to their financing; and to achieve the goal of having at least 25 million of financing mobilized to SMEs throughout this project.”
According to SBDC Executive Director Davinia Grant, part of the grant will go towards student-focused initiatives and also towards expanding the number of trainers at the SBDC as she said that the current numbers are no longer sustainable as interest and participation in the program expands.
“One of the things we’re really happy about with this particular grant is the ability to be able to expand the training for advisors,” Grant said yesterday.
She added, “When you take a look at what we’re already doing in the face of what we would like to do, the SBDC to date has already facilitated approvals for 188 clients…with 20 advisors, pretty much, just a little bit of 20 advisors, helping those 188 clients. There are 2,100 and something clients right now that are currently being served – they are either being seen by an advisor or they’re waiting patiently to be seen by an advisor. That does not include the 3,000 clients that we are waiting to actively serve.”
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest said government considers it “another fulfillment of our promise”.
“This is going to help us to be able to expand the work, as Davinia would have said, that the SBDC is involved in,” Turnquest said.
“On behalf of the government I am pleased to say that the ‘Accelerate Bahamas’ project is another fulfillment of our promise to stimulate the entrepreneurial ecosystem in The Bahamas, and support the development, growth and dynamism of the Bahamian micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.”
He added, “This has always been a core part of our recipe to grow the economy and thereby create jobs, wealth and opportunities for Bahamians. The government remains committed to the vision we chartered at the beginning of our term and we look forward to seeing more success stories emerge out of the cohort of entrepreneurs served by the SBDC.”