In its first year, the Access Accelerator/Small Business Development Centre (SBDC) approved $3.5 million in capital financing to 141 businesses, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest said Tuesday, adding that $2.8 million of that amount has already been disbursed to fund business development.
Turnquest, who was speaking at the Access Accelerator’s Cashless Christmas Client Showcase at the Gladstone Freight Terminal, said that number represents 82 percent of the companies that have been approved.
“SBDC clients came from 15 islands across The Bahamas, from as far south as Acklins, Crooked Island and Inagua to the north in Grand Bahama. This was not a Nassau-centric program,” Turnquest said.
“The showcase you see here today is proof of the talent and creativity possessed by Bahamian entrepreneurs that the SBDC has helped to unleash.
“SBDC itself is not the direct provider of capital, so we owe a big thanks to our financial partners, including the Bahamas Development Bank, the Royal Bank of Canada, the Bahamas Entrepreneurial Venture Fund and Scotiabank.”
The Access Accelerator released its annual report at the Cashless Christmas Client Showcase, which explains that there continues to be a need for more small business advocacy.
“Under the MSME (micro, small and medium-sized enterprises) Act, there is more work to be done to consider exemptions, group insurance for certain industries and using technology to build your business,” the annual report states.
“There is an overall need to strengthen and improve the efficiency of the work of the SBDC and the upcoming grant from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) will help us do that. The project looks to provide institutional strengthening to SBDC through a technical cooperation grant that will support activities and help to develop the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
“There will be a credit enhancement facility that we expect will improve access to financing and through which we plan to implement a digital platform to facilitate financial transactions.”