March 17, 2021
Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance Sen. the Hon. J. Kwasi Thompson said the Government is fighting to increase Bahamian ownership.
“Why? Because when this pandemic is behind us, it is more important now than ever before that we accelerate the pace of entrepreneurship and capital formation, Sen. Thompson said during his Contribution to the Mid-term 2021 Budget Debate in the Senate, Wednesday, March 17, 2021.
“We must seize the opportunity! It is our view that the best way to do that is to increase opportunities for Bahamian ownership and economic resilience. We must empower Bahamians!” Sen. Thompson stated that this Government administration has taken significant steps to encourage the Bahamian entrepreneurial spirit, particularly for the youth, women and innovative small businesses.
He explained that last week he attended the grand opening of the new headquarters for the Bahamas Development Bank (or BDB) on Robinson Road.
“This location was specifically chosen in the Over the Hill community due to its central location, making it easily accessible to all persons. The BDB has been rebranded, restructured and rejuvenated with new staff, a new comprehensive strategic plan and a renewed focus on development financing.”
Sen. Thompson stated that the new BDB is focused on planning, providing greater transparency, measuring impact and delivering results. The new BDB is expanding its product offerings to Bahamian businesses to include:
‚óŹ Credit facilities;
‚óŹ Bridge financing;
‚óŹ Equity financing;
‚óŹ Syndicated loans; and
‚óŹ Grant financing for certain key initiatives.
He noted that the Bank’s current funding priorities include projects that:
‚óŹ support small farmers establishing all-natural broiler production;
‚óŹ support the building of a commercial animal industry;
‚óŹ increase honey exports;
‚óŹ increase access to sustainable, climate resilient housing;
‚óŹ commercialize Cascarilla production; and
‚óŹ creates marketplaces for businesses of every size.
“To this end, the Ministry of Finance is committing more than $20 million dollars in financing in the FY2021/22 year to recapitalize the BDB and increase funding opportunities for small and medium-sized businesses in The Bahamas.”
Sen. Thompson said these efforts are in addition to the tremendous work of the Access Accelerator Small Business Development Center.
The types of businesses and the sectors they represent have ranged far and wide:
‚óŹ Courier services,
‚óŹ Beauty care services,
‚óŹ Graphic design,
‚óŹ Catering companies,
‚óŹ Landscaping companies,
‚óŹ Small construction companies,
‚óŹ Clothing boutiques,
‚óŹ Party rental services,
‚óŹ Tour operators,
‚óŹ Day care operators,
‚óŹ And the list goes on and on.
He said, “As we transition to a post-COVID environment, this Administration’s commitment to small businesses will expand even further with a commitment of annual contributions of $50 million or more in financing support each fiscal year over the next five years.” The Minister of State added, “This government will continue its unrivaled track record as the government which has done the most to support Bahamian entrepreneurs and small businesses.”