Business Development Fund for South Abaco

SANDY POINT, Abaco – Developers of the recently announced up-market resort community for South Abaco have committed to inject $7 million into a business development fund for Bahamian entrepreneurs seeking to establish businesses in the project.

The commitment is a part of the heads of agreement signed on Thursday 13 February between the Government of The Bahamas and Tyrsoz Family Holdings Ltd for the resort development.

The development represents a minimum $300 million capital investment and is expected to include a wide range of amenities, including the expansion and upgrade of the Sandy Point airport, a marina, golf course, clubhouse, restaurants, a retail and residential component, swimming pools, waterpark, utility services, resort accommodations and related amenities.

“The fund will assist Bahamian entrepreneurs in training and business development opportunities and will provide direct financial subsidies to support the businesses during the initial operational phase of the Project,” said Prime Minister the Most Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis at Thursday’s signing ceremony held at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church Hall.

Under the agreement, the fund – known as the South Abaco Business Development Fund – will be put in place at least six months prior to the start of operations of the Project and in coordination with the Small Business Development Centre.

The project is expected to employ 600 workers in the construction phase and 600 long-term employees.

Construction on the project and any other construction beyond the high-water mark is prohibited until the review and approval of the Environmental Management Plan by the BEST Commission. An Environmental Impact Assessment Plan must also be submitted for review and approval.

Tyrsoz has agreed to aim for a ratio of no less than 80 percent of Bahamian workers to 20 percent non-Bahamian workers.

In addition to agreeing to maximize the hiring of Bahamians for additional operational employment and promote entrepreneurial opportunities in the commercial aspects of the development, training programmes will be implemented to help qualify more Bahamians for employment in the operation and management of the property, the Prime Minister noted.

Tyrsoz has agreed to collaborate with the relevant government agencies for education, including the University of The Bahamas, and The Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute.

The developer will also create opportunities for Bahamian entertainers and performers to regularly perform at various locations at the resort.

Bahamian artwork will be used to beautify the resort and to enhance the visitor experience. Bahamian music will be played throughout the resort, inclusive of live Bahamian entertainment and Bahamian cuisine will be integrated in the property’s menu options.

Environmental groups and entrepreneurs will also be consulted to develop eco-tourism excursion opportunities, including bird watching and bone fish guides, according to the agreement.

“[This project] will benefit all of Abaco,” said Prime Minister Minnis.