Disney, the Eleuthera Chamber of Commerce, and the Access Accelerator Small Business Development Center (SBDC) signed a $1 million, three-year agreement yesterday while in Eleuthera, that will support the development of businesses and entrepreneurs on the island, and prepare them for the anticipated opening of Disney’s newest cruise destination at Lighthouse Point in South Eleuthera.
In a press statement, president of Disney Cruise Line Jeff Vahle said the company looks forward to helping to maximize the economic opportunities for Eleuthera residents.
“Our organizations are coming together with the goal of empowering entrepreneurs and small businesses in Eleuthera and maximizing their economic opportunities for the long run,” said Vahle.
“Disney is excited to be a part of this community and to help create a more robust and resilient economy in Eleuthera.”
The statement also revealed the partnership will come with a new facility located in Rock Sound where both the Chamber and the SBDDC will provide business development advisory services; business communication training; customer service training; business mentorship; and other seminars and programs. Disney said it will also have an office in the facility in order to provide intimate service to the companies and entrepreneurs that are on-boarded.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest praised the partnership in the statement, explaining that government hopes to see more of these agreements signed in the future.
“This MOU (memorandum of understanding) is a model of what we hope to achieve in other communities throughout The Bahamas as we look to bring additional investment to the country,” said Turnquest.
“This is not just about creating jobs, this is about creating wholesome communities, because at the end of the day when we have happy communities, we will have successful and profitable businesses.”
Disney purchased Lighthouse Point in 2019 and is waiting for its environmental impact assessment (EIA) and environmental management plan to be greenlit in order to begin construction of what the company says will be a low-density, environmentally sustainable development.
“Construction at Lighthouse Point will begin only after an Environmental Impact Assessment and Environmental Management Plan are reviewed and accepted by the Government of The Bahamas , public consultation has occurred and all other necessary government permits and approvals have been granted.”