The Access Accelerator/Small Business Development Centre (SBDC) has facilitated more than $71 million in approved funding for just under 1,000 small businesses, its Interim Executive Director Samantha Rolle said yesterday.
Rolle also revealed that roughly 30 percent of those businesses are delinquent in repaying those government-guaranteed loans, and only about two or three businesses have defaulted.
“At the moment, we have two or three companies that we are working with, as well as working with the lending partner to see how we can turn that around for them. In terms of our delinquency percentage, we have, across a number of different financial institutions, varying percentages, but if I may give an estimation, I would say that we’re around 30 percent,” she said during the weekly Office of the Prime Minister press briefing.
“There are thousands of companies that still require assistance, quite a bit, actually, and we are about to undertake a particular campaign around our guaranteed loan program. We are currently meeting with a number of our financial institution partners to really flesh out how we can make sure that the public, our clients and those interested have all of the information needed, so that we can begin that program.”
Rolle said the majority of funding is being requested for small business start-ups and the SBDC has found that for the most part the success rates vary.
“We would have seen an extreme uptick during the pandemic of start-ups but, even now, particularly with our existing Royal Caribbean Program, which is designated for existing programs, the data shows us that 82 percent of those who apply for that program are ineligible due to the fact that they are a start-up. So, across our programs, we’re seeing more and more requests for support for start-ups,” she said.
“To date, we have facilitated access to a total of $71,256,867.02 in approved funding to 921 clients throughout The Bahamas,” she added. “This access to capital is comprised of loan, equity and grant funding from over 13 programs and initiatives. Of these businesses, about 20 percent are start-ups with an even split of 49 percent each of male to female ownership, with two percent being co-owned. These statistics are from businesses on Abaco, Acklins, Andros, Berry Islands, Bimini, Cat Island, Crooked Island, Eleuthera, Exuma, Grand Bahama, Inagua, Long Island, Mayaguana, New Providence and San Salvador.
“As of the end of the last calendar year, this accounted for $7,026,196.41 in total salary impact and $36,751,685.40 in total sales impact, based on 700 respondents of our economic impact report as of December 31, 2021. We have been able to produce these results largely from programs such as our Access Accelerator program, which is our guaranteed loan offering. This program has yielded a total of $10,929,104.12 in approved funding to 150 clients. It is our flagship program that goes beyond access to funding but includes advisory, business development and is always active and open for new start-ups.”
Other small business funding programs facilitated through the SBDC include the Disaster Recovery Relief Program that was able to assist businesses on Abaco and Grand Bahama impacted by Hurricane Dorian; and the Business Continuity Program for small businesses adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.