Catastrophic events like Hurricane Dorian may cause some small business owners to reformat their business models to be more digital-based, Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation (BCCEC) CEO Jeffrey Beckles asserted.
With an estimated 24,000 businesses and structures leveled by the storm, many of which were business establishments, the chamber CEO said it’s a fair assertion that many businesses seeking to return to Abaco and eastern Grand Bahama may turn to a digital platform to manage their operations.
“There’s no doubt that there may be some businesses that may choose to change the platforms in which they did business prior but there’s also no doubt that there’s still going to be a need for brick and mortar,” he said.“Remember we’re working on a Family Island where the average business was physically present and they love to do that. I think the lessons to be taken from Dorian is more so how do we protect our businesses going forward from climate events? How do we build in more resilience, business continuum plans? How do we engage and use technology to ensure that in the event of a catastrophic event like this, shutting down my business and moving away while this storm comes through, I am now able to go back online and download my business and start again?”
The government has allocated $10 million from the dormant accounts fund to provide loans and grants to small businesses looking to rebound after the devastating storm.
Already several hundred businesses have applied to benefit through the Small Business Development Center (SBDC).
“Our focus at the chamber is to really expound our educational component so that at the end of the day businesses understand more about how to protect their business going forward,” he said.
“Remember it’s an evolving process and we started somewhere and the truth is, $10 million used properly can go a long way.”