The Access Accelerator Small Business Development Centre’s most recent standalone grant program pumped more than $500,000 into 129 small businesses, the Access Accelerator noted in a press statement, adding that the full program has helped to support more than 2,000 jobs.
This third round of grants, the Access Accelerator stated, totaled $569,000 and brings the amount given to small businesses over the life of the program to $2.3 million across 549 businesses.
“The Standalone Grant Program gives small business owners access to up to $5,000 in grant funding,” the statement revealed.
“The first round of funding under the program was launched on October 8th, 2020, with one million dollars in allocated funds. In round one, 860 businesses applied, 256 of which were funded.
“Round two, with $500,000 in overall financing, had 1,862 applicants with 164 funded and round three, with $500,000 in total funding, received 1,359 applicants.
“Collectively, the three cycles impacted 15 islands across The Bahamas: San Salvador, Mayaguana, Acklins, Inagua, Eleuthera, Crooked Island, Bimini, Berry Islands, Cat Island, Andros, Abaco, Exuma, Long Island, Grand Bahama and New Providence and 14 business industries: fishing,
accommodations, agriculture, entertainment, healthcare, transportation, personal service activities, construction, education, manufacturing, landscaping and maintenance, food and beverage, professional services and wholesale/retail trade.”
To date, the Access Accelerator has invested $64.3 million into more than 2,000 businesses.
Executive Director of the Access Accelerator Davinia Bain said in the statement that the preservation of jobs is the most important part of the allocation of the grants.
Bain said ensuring companies can remain in business and keep their employees is crucial to improving the economy.
“We know that businesses had to make tough decisions last year, terminating or furloughing employees,” Bain said.
“Through these initiatives, the goal is to assist small businesses to continue or begin to employ Bahamians. Small businesses account for the majority of jobs in The Bahamas, so for us, the best impact is to sustain employment but ultimately increase it.”
According to Bain, choosing which businesses would be awarded the grants was a “protracted” but necessary process.
“The adjudication process of the program included numerous agencies that impact the small business sector, which we are grateful to and whom we thank for their assistance in ensuring a fair approval process,” she said.
“The committee goes through each application individually, ensuring that what is required is there and that approvals are evenly dispersed across industries and islands.”
The statement explained that that adjudication committee included participants from the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers’ Confederation, the Bahamas Entrepreneurial Venture Fund, Bahamas Development Bank, University of The Bahamas, Bahamas Agricultural and Industrial Corporation, Department of Fisheries, Department of Agriculture, Office of the Prime Minister (Grand Bahama), and the Grand Bahama Chamber of Commerce.