The Access Accelerator Small Business Development Center (SBDC) has experienced no defaults from its successful loan applicants to date, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest said Friday, adding that the government is negotiating with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) on $25 million in added funding for the program.
Turnquest, who was speaking at the SBDC’s town hall meeting in Grand Bahama, said zero defaults means that investors will look at the small business loan program with confidence.
“We have had zero defaults from the clients that we have been working with,” said Turnquest.
“And that is important to us because it is a mark of the credibility of the program; and because it builds confidence among our partners that this is a worthwhile program that is producing the kinds of results that we intended for it to produce, they would be more willing to continue to fund and participate in the program.”
According to Turnquest, the program has funded several businesses to the tune of $6.8 million in the program’s year-and-a-half of operation.
He said the program is part of the country’s move towards economic independence.
“We depend too much upon foreign direct investment to drive our economy. That means you are dependent upon someone else,” said Turnquest.
“We can chart our own course and make our own decisions in our best interest.”
He added that the government expects an economic return from this largest single investment in entrepreneurship in the country’s history.
“We are truly serious about empowering Bahamians, and that we facilitate as many business people as we can,” Turnquest said.