NASSAU, The Bahamas, Tuesday October 15, 2019 – Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest has announced that US$10 million will be taken from the Dormant Fund to help small businesses in Abaco and Grand Bahama which were impacted when Hurricane Dorian slammed into the two islands last month.
He said the Access Accelerator, Small Business Development Centre (SBDC), through the Ministry of Finance and private financial partners, is offering government-guaranteed loans to micro, small and medium-sized (MSMEs) enterprises directly affected by Hurricane Dorian.
“Both Grand Bahama and Abaco represent some 18 per cent of our overall Gross Domestic Product and so it is in our interest and certainly significant for us to get them back and up and operating to as near normal as quickly as possible,” he said.
The $10 million will facilitate grants, loan guarantees and equity capital for entrepreneurs residing and displaced from Abaco and Grand Bahama.
Executive Director at the SBDC, Davinia Grant, explained that it is the goal of the Centre to continue serving those clients it had before the storm while creating opportunities for other existing MSMEs to bounce back even better.
“I need to emphasize this. We will continue to take care of our existing clients. What is being discussed today is additional resources that have allocated by our government and our partnering financial institutions to help the 2,525 active MSMEs across Abaco and Grand Bahama, employing approximately 4,000 people,” she said.
Grant said the government is providing US$5 million to guarantee up to US$6.7 million dollars in loans through the Clearing Banks Association.US$2 million will be given equity in partnerships and U$1.3 million in microloans and grants.
Businesspersons displaced will fill out an application form which will be looked over and an executive summary created by volunteer advisors. Those summaries and supporting documents will then be sent to the relevant banks.
Grant said it is anticipated that the process will take no more than 10 business days and disbursements for grants and microloans will be processed in four to five business days.
The Bahamas Chamber of Commerce will verify the authenticity of businesses seeking to access funding in order to ensure transparency and accountability.