The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) has launched a grant to allow small businesses in Grand Bahama to get up to $2,500 to upgrade technology-based infrastructure, Minister of State for Grand Bahama Kwasi Thompson said yesterday.
“In our ongoing efforts to rebuild our economy and to assist local existing small businesses which were damaged by the storm, the Office of the Prime Minister, Grand Bahama – in conjunction with the Small Business Development Center – has launched the Small Business Technology Innovation Initiative,” Thompson said during a workshop in Freeport, Grand Bahama.
“This program is designed specifically to create new opportunities for small businesses to access grant funding up to $2,500 earmarked for the introduction and/or upgrade of technology-based infrastructure with a concentration on innovation.”
He noted that technology based-infrastructure includes data and cybersecurity, cloud computing and storage, website design and implementation and enhancement, hardware and software, mobile applications, collaboration and remote workforce systems, marketing services, productivity, financial management systems and customer relationship management.
Individuals can apply for the program at SBDC in Grand Bahama, Thompson said.
“The tech grant is in addition to the other benefits to set up businesses in Grand Bahama,” he added.
“These include: tax-free importation of goods directly into the recovery zones. This applies to cargo directly imported into Grand Bahama, Abaco and the surrounding cays; and VAT-free purchase of goods inside the recovery zones. This applies to goods purchased inside the zone.”
During the workshop, Thompson urged business owners to incorporate more usage of “smarter technology”.
He said the reconstruction and recovery of small businesses is “critical to our overall recovery”.
“Small businesses have always been our lifeblood and should be our key focus on rebuilding our economy,” Thompson said.
“A significant number of businesses were significantly damaged in the storm and will require some form of rebuilding. Rebuilding provides us with the opportunity to do so using smarter technology. A significant amount of damage involved storage of paper files.
“This provides us with another opportunity to use more digital tools for data storage which assists businesses in becoming more resilient and provides opportunities to build the technology industry in Grand Bahama and The Bahamas.
“The hurricane exposed our great reliance on cash and the old banking system. Many countries have used their limitations with banking to leapfrog using digital currencies or e-wallets. This provides for us to tap into and develop a new industry and a new opportunity for a faster, more convenient way of doing business.”