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News Article
Bahamas Development Bank Holds One-Day Leadership Forum To Assess Funding And Support For Small Businesses
Bahamas Development Bank Holds One-Day Leadership Forum To Assess Funding And Support For Small Businesses

As a part of the Bahamas Development Bank’s (BDB) and the Ministry of Finance’s on going efforts to assess the best options and models to effectively finance, promote, and sustain the development of small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) in the country, the BDB recently hosted a one-day Leadership Forum on small business development at the British Colonial Hilton on February 3, 2011.

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News Article
Businesses 'treat cars better than computers'

Most people don't wait until they are stranded by the roadside to consider taking their car in for a tune-up.
Yet when it comes to information technology (IT) - the engine of any modern business - it seems common sense is far less common, according to a leading provider of hardware, software and IT services.
Though much neglected, maintenance is a vitally important aspect of any healthy IT system, said Managing Director of Armstrong Technology Consultants Sabrina Knowles.
Most businesses hesitate, she said, because of the long-established belief that investing in technology has to be expensive. Launched in 2007, Armstrong set out to overturn this perception, and over the past seven years has earned a reputation for offering top products and services at surprisingly affordable prices.
Using a creative yet structured model to craft IT solutions tailored to each client, the company offers everything from regular infrastructural support to advanced telephony systems and security and systems management.
"We consult with a business to find out what they are trying to accomplish and apply a formula designed to find the best option at the best possible price," said Knowles. "At the same time, every business is unique, so our approach must be formulated, but flexible."
One of the most common concerns is Disaster Recovery (DR), said Knowles.
"One of the DR services we provide is known as a Cloud Solution. It takes the data offsite, to another location, so even if the building burns to the ground, information is secure and protected," she said.
The company has recently branched out, adding a retail location at 48 Madeira Street. Just over a year on, business is booming - far exceeding expectations and driving the hiring of additional staff.
"By combining cutting-edge gadgets and hardware with our expertise in information technology, we are creating a business that truly is a benefit to our customers," said Knowles. "We cater to everyone from consumers looking for the latest tablet or television to businesses in need of networking and corporate support packages."
The 2,300-square-foot retail area is a hands-on space where customers can experience how various cutting-edge devices and services will make it easier for them to work and play.
"We're looking forward to continually bringing the latest technologies to consumers in a unique environment where they can explore how products and services fit together across business, entertainment, travel, music and more," Knowles said.
And while the retail business is thriving, the toughest challenge remains educating businesses about the importance of ongoing maintenance for IT equipment.
"What we find is the same business that maintains a fleet of trucks or its executive's cars with great care waits until a critical computer, server or other equipment fails to perform as expected and then they call for urgent service," said Knowles. "Routine maintenance for IT equipment results in smoother operations and far fewer interruptions."

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News Article
Govt Programme will Allow Businesses to Customise Benefits

Eligible businesses will be allowed to customize their benefits under the government’s Road Work Compensation Programme, according to Ministry of Finance executive Simon Wilson.

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News Article
Govt Programme Will Allow Businesses To Customise Benefits
Govt Programme Will Allow Businesses To Customise Benefits

Eligible businesses will be allowed to customize their benefits under the government's Road Work Compensation Programme, according to Ministry of Finance executive Simon Wilson.

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News Article
Small business legislation 'early next year'

The Small and Medium Size Enterprises Development Bill is currently being reviewed by the attorney general's office and is expected before Parliament early next year, Guardian Business can confirm.
Minister of State for Investments Khaalis Rolle told Guardian Business that to date most of the consultation with key stakeholders has been completed.
"I'm looking to ensure that what we have analyzed and committed to with the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency (SMEDA) is consistent with the overall national economic development plan," he said.
In fact, he estimates the legislation could be going to Parliament "any day now".
"It is now before the attorney general's office and then from there, it's Parliament. We have finished most of the consultation, so the SMEDA legislation should be going to Parliament soon," according to Rolle.
Back in August, EPS Consultants, a local consultancy firm, began conducting a "needs analysis" survey on 800 small and medium-sized businesses throughout the country, as the government seeks to develop and introduce a SMEDA sometime next year. According to Donald Demeritte, the principal of EPS Consultants, the four-week process sought to "gather specific data from a representative sample of small and medium businesses."
"This information is crucial for the development of the foundational support for SMEDA, as it speaks to and seeks to encapsulate what businesses view as essential and practical for their viability and sustainability," Demeritte said.
The data gathering exercise was conducted on New Providence, Grand Bahama, Cat Island, Eleuthera, Harbour Island, Exuma and Long Island.
Officials from the Bahamas Development Bank (BDB), the Bahamas Agricultural and Industrial Corporation (BAIC) and the Bahamas Entrepreneurial Venture Fund also conducted a six-week consultation process on SME development that ended in April.
Under the draft legislation, the initial amount of capital required in year one to launch SMEDA would be determined on a needs basis.
Of particular interest to investors will be the option to approve the issuance of shares in SMEDA to other institutions or individuals.
Business advisory support services needed for SMEs will also be provided under SMEDA.
The government is expected to inject $25 million of capital for the creation of SMEDA.

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News Article
Former PLP MPs Have Concerns On Referendum

Two former Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) MPs have raised concerns on the heels of Prime Minister Perry Christie's recent communication on the upcoming gambling referendum.

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News Article
Local attorney: Bahamas must keep pace with global trends

With international business and cross-border transactions increasing dramatically, a partner in a local law firm said it is critical for Bahamians practicing law to keep pace with legal precedence, trends and changes in other jurisdictions.
Fresh from attending the International Lawyers Network (ILN) 2013 conference in Miami, Halsbury Chambers partner, Nerissa Greene, said issues of taxation, employment, energy and natural resources - once thought to be local - have such global repercussions today that attorneys who practice in The Bahamas need to keep abreast of evolving trends.
"It is no longer a luxury to remain abreast of changing judicial precedent, practices and procedures in other parts of the world, it is essential," said Greene, who specializes in real estate, conveyancing, family law, and civil and corporate law. "As responsible legal advisors and consultants, we must be 110 percent current with the ever-evolving face of law."
Although much of the conference focused on energy production and dissemination, including issues related to natural gas and fracking that don't pertain to The Bahamas, the value of seeing how fast law was being created in new fields could not be underestimated, Greene said.
"I think there is a misconception among the general public that law is static, that it's what is written in those leather-bound books that dominate law libraries. The reality is that while principles largely remain constant, nuances in the law change with great frequency and the procedural matters, evidentiary requirements, standards are always under scrutiny and can flip with a single case that sets new precedent," said the attorney who first rose to prominence by highlighting the benefits of pre-nuptial agreements.
Greene said attending the ILN 2013 conference also allowed her to network with attorneys from Asia, the U.S., Canada, Latin America and Europe. Membership in the ILN is limited and by invitation only. Halsbury Chambers is the official Bahamas member of the association of 91 high-quality, full-service law firms with over 5,000 lawyers world-wide. The ILN provides clients with easily accessible legal services in 67 countries on six continents.
"As attorneys, particularly in civil matters, we represent clients who may have interests in multiple jurisdictions so whether those clients are individuals or large enterprises, we need to be prepared to advise them appropriately because they may be comparing doing business in The Bahamas with doing business elsewhere," said Greene, "and that counsel can range from employment to taxation matters."
Greene's participation in the international conference was the second by a Halsbury Chambers attorney in recent weeks.
Earlier in November, estate planning specialist Mikia Cooper, a Halsbury Chambers associate, attended the 1st Annual Private Wealth Latin America and the Caribbean Forum in Miami, helping to boost the profile of The Bahamas. Minister of Financial Services Ryan Pinder was among the speakers at that conference, touting this country's competence in handling the most complex of wealth, asset management and investment matters.

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News Article
Foreign contractor to excavate water system in 2013
Foreign contractor to excavate water system in 2013

After intensive workshops with consultants from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the general manager of the Water and Sewerage Corporation (WSC) says the 10 year, $81 million infrastructure project will save the country $8 million every year.

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News Article
Progress made on compliance with EPA international trade obligation

Financial Services Minister Ryan Pinder said the government has "catapulted" its compliance with its international trade obligation under the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).
During his contribution to the debate on the 2013/2014 budget communication, Pinder announced that the government has set the legislative framework necessary for the advancement of trade.
Under the EPA, there are certain reductions in customs duties that have to take place incrementally every two years over a 25-year period.
The first reduction was supposed to take place in January 2011 and the second in January 2013. However, Pinder accused the former Free National Movement (FNM) administration of neglecting its international obligations.
"The former government did not provide what was necessary for the implementation of our international obligations. The Tariff Bill tabled by the prime minister and minister of finance implements these first two tariff cuts and provides legislatively for the additional tariff reductions over the next 20 years," he said.
"I am pleased to report that as part of the prime minister's budget communication and the attending legislation tabled in this honorable place, this government, in just one year, has catapulted its compliance with its international trade obligations under the EPA and has set the legislative framework for the advancement of trade as a pillar of the economic development of The Bahamas."
Pinder pointed out that the Tariff Bill has also been modernized, reflecting the latest tariff codes, specifically the Harmonized System 2012.
"It significantly simplifies the schedules, by implementing a multi-column system. These features increase the ease of doing business and the transparency in trading, providing a mechanism to facilitate international trade," he noted.
Earlier this month, Pinder told Guardian Business that discussions are on track regarding The Bahamas' attempt to implement an EPA plan. His optimism came after the first round of validation meetings.
"We talked about opportunities and we talked about how we could fit the different industries into our implementation plan to cause exposure to the greatest number of clientele internationally and globally," Pinder said.
"We think they are going very well. The consultants should be complete with their final assessment report hopefully next week, so I'll have an opportunity to discuss it next week in the House during the budget debates."
The Bahamas is aiming to incorporate a value-added trade strategy to position the country as a hub in global value chains. This will better integrate production networks across regional states in an effort to source primary and intermediary inputs for additional export and production.
"The Bahamas is planning for opportunities associated with global value chains. We are creating a new, progressive business model in keeping with our globalized world, in order for us to take full advantage of outbound opportunities, as opposed to fixating on supposed inbound threats," said Pinder.
He believes The Bahamas' commitment to an EPA implementation plan is reflected in portions of the 2013/2014 budget communication.

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News Article
Visionary Business Leaders and Entrepreneurs Awards Conference
Visionary Business Leaders and Entrepreneurs Awards Conference

Hundreds of business owners and entrepreneurs expected to attend this year’s 2010 Visionary Business Leaders and Entrepreneurs Awards Conference slated for Monday, October 18 at 9 a.m. at the British Colonial Hilton are being encouraged to adopt an aggressive survival mentality in order to ensure their businesses’ ultimate success during these challenging economic times.

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