May 17, 2017
Grand Bahama hopes to diversify its small and medium-size enterprise sector through a business diversity waiver, which affords innovative entrepreneurs in Grand Bahama a one year waiver on the Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA) license fee.
The announcement of the waiver comes ahead of a business innovation and e-commerce workshop being planned by the Invest Grand Bahama Small Business Bureau (IGBSBB), to be held next month, according to a release by the GBPA.
The GBPA has considered that Grand Bahama's downtown business area needs diverse, innovative businesses in order to grow economic activity. Ian Rolle, president of GBPA, said the authority is looking for businesses that will add value to the people of Grand Bahama.
"Whilst the economy is making small but steady progress, increased diversity and innovation within the city's small business sector would definitely add value for residents and to the local economic landscape," said Rolle.
"As with the upcoming business innovation and e-commerce workshop, all initiatives by our Invest Grand Bahama Small Business Bureau in 2017 will focus on encouraging increased business diversity and innovation, which at present is lacking within our small business sector.
"That said, one important measure that we are taking is to incentivize entrepreneurs who are thinking outside the box, with a one-year GBPA license fee waiver, when they launch their creative business ideas within the downtown area."
Rolle added that though downtown will serve as the launch pad for this pilot initiative, the GBPA is "hopeful that the results would translate into more variety and options for locals as well as visitors" in the areas of shopping, dining and
entertainment, among others.
According to GBPA's release, the workshop is slated for June 8th at the Grand Lucayan resort, and will feature international headliners such as Canadian e-commerce company Shopify.
Derek Newbold, GBPA senior business development and marketing manager, said all elements of the upcoming workshop will support the new waiver.
"We all know the traditional business concepts; in fact they currently hold the majority share of the local economy, for example retail clothing stores, liquor stores, salons, beauty supplies stores and the like," he said.
"While these business types continue to be necessary within the community, we want to encourage entrepreneurs to be creative and think innovatively. I am referring to adding value in a new way, perhaps within some of the traditional business concepts by way of enhanced customer experiences, technology integration, etc. It's time to break the traditional mold."
In the past several years Grand Bahama has suffered low economic activity and a slate of closed resorts and hotels following the passage of two hurricanes. The new Free National Movement government has vowed to place a serious emphasis on kickstarting the second capital.
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