As part of the Government’s $250 million five-year commitment for small business development, a minimum of $25 million will be set aside specifically for entrepreneurship programs geared toward Bahamian youth and toward women, said Prime Minister the Most Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis.
Prime Minister Minnis was speaking on Sunday 8 November during an address to the nation.
The commitment to provide $50 million per year in support of small businesses over the next five years was based on a recommendation by the Economic Recovery Committee.
The Prime Minister said the Government will continue to set aside sums for specific segments of the population to ensure that marginalized and under-represented groups in The Bahamas get specific attention.
Prime Minister Minnis also noted that shortly, the Small Business Development Centre (SBDC) will launch its Youth Programme that will provide grants, loans, training and business support for young Bahamians aged 18 to 30.
“The government and the SBDC recognize that our young people have incredible determination and drive. Many of them have a strong desire to work for themselves,” said the Prime Minister. “My government wants to nurture their sense of entrepreneurship and ownership.”
The SBDC has budgeted $1.5 million in its new Youth Programme that will provide grants, loans, training and business support for young entrepreneurs getting into their first business or expanding their existing businesses.
The young Bahamians will be active participants in an extended programme over several months to ensure that they get the funds that they need.
“In our three-plus years in office, my Government has provided unprecedented levels of support for Bahamian entrepreneurs,” said Prime Minister Minnis.
“Since coming to office, we have through the SBDC to date, provided some $52.7 million in loans and grants to over 950 Bahamian micro- and small-businesses. This includes over $40 million in direct support for those that have been impacted by Hurricane Dorian and the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The Prime Minister said that never before in the history of the country have Bahamian entrepreneurs obtained this kind of direct small business support, adding that the Government will be doing even more to create opportunities for Bahamians entrepreneurs.
“I wish to be clear, while there will be funds directly targeted for certain segments, including young people, all Bahamians are eligible to seek grants,” the Prime Minister emphasized.