GBPA’S Capital Arena Initiative to Announce 19 Finalists

President Ian Rolle as he announced the CAPITAL Arena Initiative during GBPA’s Business Innovation Bootcamp last October. 

A little over 6 months ago, executives of The Grand Bahama Port Authority, Limited (GBPA), unveiled its Capital Arena Initiative, a grant funding project, to assist aspiring entrepreneurs and existing business owners. This week, the Port will announce the 19 finalists set to compete in GBPA’s Capital Arena, for a chance to receive up to $15,000 to start or grow their business.

GBPA’s Capital Arena Initiative seeks to introduce a minimum of 4 new businesses into the local economy annually. According to Ian Rolle, GBPA President, the Port hopes to identify the best business ideas local entrepreneurs have to offer and assist with funding and support for these businesses to flourish.

“We are excited about this initiative. Our team has been working on it for some time. Further, we were very pleased with the number and types of proposals submitted,” stated President Rolle.  “This initiative is intended to create meaningful impact and opportunities within the local economy. The Capital Arena meets a real and tangible need for small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs, as access to capital remains one of the greatest challenges to small businesses. So as we unveil our finalists, we applaud their effort and wish them all much success as they vie to secure funding for their businesses.” Rolle added.

A call for proposals launched in October of last year, attracting numerous applicants. Their products and services covered a range of economic sectors, including food and beverage, manufacturing, tourism, and transportation. Following the judging of written proposals in ROUND I: ‘Evaluation of Concept’, a total of 19 candidates will emerge as finalists, moving on to the final judging segment ROUND II: ‘In Person Presentations’.

 GLADIATORS ARE YOU READY: GBPA’s Capital Arena Initiative will announce 19 finalists this week. Candidates will move on to face the ‘DUKE’ – Ian Rolle, GBPA President; the ‘DUTCHESS’ – Deann Seymour, Chief Financial Officer and the ‘DON’ – Derek Newbold, Sr. Manager of Business Development and Invest Grand Bahama. Only six of the nineteen candidates can emerge as winners with a chance to win up to $15,000.00 to start or grow their business.

“In ROUND I, applicants were judged on business innovation, growth and employment potential, revenue potential, and viability, among other criteria,” explained Derek Newbold, Sr. Manager of Business Development for GBPA and Invest Grand Bahama.

“Nineteen finalists will advance to this cohort’s final judging segment, ROUND II, which begins January 22. In the “arena”, they will get one chance to convince GBPA’s panel of business strategists that their business startup and expansion proposals are worth investing in,” Newbold added.

The deciding panel comprises President Rolle (the DUKE); entrepreneur and business strategist with businesses in ICT & BPO operations, telecommunications and financial consulting; GBPA Chief Financial Officer Deann Seymour (the DUTCHESS), a serial entrepreneur with businesses in publishing & marketing, fashion merchandising, and financial consulting; and GBPA Senior Business Development Manager Derek Newbold (the DON), a strategic negotiator and serial entrepreneur with businesses in manufacturing and distribution.

The trio panelists will be responsible for selecting a total of six winners from the first and/or second cohorts: four aspiring entrepreneurs and two entrepreneurs with existing businesses.

Overall, GBPA anticipates investing a minimum of $80,000 into the local economy as a result of this initiative. The company aims to introduce a minimum of four new businesses into the local economy and assist two existing businesses with their expansion goals each year.

While the company intends to spearhead Capital Arena in its first two years, GBPA is looking to include corporate sponsors across Grand Bahama for future cycles of the initiative.

Winners of GBPA’s Capital Arena Initiative’s first cohort will be announced in February.

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