Storm-ravaged business receive funding from SBDC

Most of Last Mile Communication’s equipment was claimed by the Atlantic Ocean during Hurricane Dorian. The telecommunications company lost 40 percent of its top-line revenue because of the storm, Chief Executive Officer of Last Mile Communications Matthew Carey told Guardian Business yesterday.

Yesterday, Carey and about seven other business operators received funding from the Access Accelerator/Small Business Development Centre (SBDC), that could get their businesses on Abaco and Grand Bahama back online.

For Carey, however, his role as an internet service provider for Abaco and its cays means restoring about 15 tower locations that were destroyed by Dorian, rebuilding a corporate office and network core and restoring about 450 clients.

“Pretty much all of it is gone,” he said.

He also explained that to insure all of his equipment would have been cost prohibitive for his company.

For Carey and several others yesterday, the government made good on its promise to deliver grants to business owners who have been affected by Hurricane Dorian.

SBDC officials said about 200 businesses on the affected islands have applied for grants and loans.

Carey will still have to continue to look for loan guarantees and equity financing in order to completely rebuild his company, he said.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest, who handed out the checks and approval letters to the business owners yesterday at the Office of the Prime Minister, said the government pledged $10 million to the SBDC to assist small businesses on Grand Bahama and Abaco to rebuild their businesses.

“The government of The Bahamas pledged $10 million to assist various entrepreneurs in their rebuilding efforts to get them back on their feet and back in operation, not only to provide opportunities for themselves, but also to re-employ people and to get people back to work and back to normal as quickly as possible,” said Turnquest.

“This is a very momentous day for us and we are very excited.

“We look forward to them getting back up and running in the affected islands as soon as possible.”

Turnquest noted that while those businesses yesterday received grants that do not have to be repaid, some of them will inevitably require additional capital in the form of loans and equity financing.

According to Turnquest, the $10 million to expand the SBDC’s program to hurricane victims came from the dormant accounts fund and is specifically for hurricane relief.

“We will allocate that money until we have addressed all of the needs we can identify and reasonably address, or until the money runs out,” he said. 

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Chester Robards

Chester Robards rejoined The Nassau Guardian in November 2017 as a senior business reporter. He has covered myriad topics and events for The Nassau Guardian. Education: Florida International University, BS in Journalism

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