The Access Accelerator Small Business Development Center (SBDC) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the The Nature Conservancy (TNC) yesterday that forms a four-year strategic partnership, that includes $400,000 to fund projects in the blue economy and a blue economy accelerator program.
SBDC Executive Director Samantha Rolle said during a press conference yesterday to mark the signing of the MOU that the application process for the program could begin by the middle of 2023.
“We proposed the creation of a blue economy accelerator program in an effort to develop the sectors associated with the blue economy and bring high value jobs and wealth, through advancing entrepreneurial and innovation support to MSMEs in The Bahamas,” Rolle said in an SBDC statement.
“We realized that a strategic focus on MSME development for the blue economy plays a vital role in developing viable ‘reef-positive’ businesses that protect and restore critical natural resources for The Bahamas, while strengthening local communities.
“However, these business models require specific technical support and science-based metrics that TNC can provide, combined with small business development support services, which are the focus of the SBDC.”
TNC’s Northern Caribbean (Bahamas) Program Director Marcia Musgrove said in the statement that it was the Global Fund for Coral Reefs that chose to fund this project to the tune of $400,000.
“We are very pleased to collaborate with the SBDC for the development of this program,” said Musgrove.
“The Bahamas continues to grapple with devastating economic, social and environmental impacts from COVID-19, which came on the heels of our most intense decade of hurricanes on record.
“We are grateful that the Global Fund for Coral Reefs chose to fund this project, that will directly benefit small and medium business owners in local communities across The Bahamas, who are committed to sustainable use of our natural resources, especially our coral reefs.
“Together with the SBDC, we hope to support up to 50 local businesses over the next four years.”