November 27, 2020
Business COVID-19 Press Releases Support

Grand Bahama Port Authority and Partners Conclude Successful Grant Program

BENEFICIAL PARTNERSHIPS:103 businesses across Grand Bahama received SBR grants. “We are extremely grateful to our GBPA partners for sharing their wealth of knowledge and experience in small business support, which provided a data-driven approach to reaching businesses most in need. Likewise, we are appreciative of the support extended from the Access Accelerator [SBDC], which enabled the program to benefit even more businesses than originally projected,” Brennen stated. Pictured from left to right: Stephanie Barr, BRC Administrator, Grand Bahama; Yvette O’Conno, Director Access Accelerator SBDC, Grand Bahama; Davinia Blair, Executive Director, Access Accelerator SBDC; Ian Rolle, President, GBPA Group; Renaldi Forbes, Chairman, BRC Grand Bahama; Sarah St. George, Acting Chairman, GBPA Group; Derek Newbold, Sr. Manager of Business Development, GBPA; Angelique Saunders, Livelihoods Officer, IFRC; and Adrian Martinez Ferrandis, Livelihoods Delegate, IFRC.

Five months after the launch of the Small Business Recovery (SBR) grant program, implementing partners The Bahamas Red Cross Society (BRCS) and The Grand Bahama Port Authority, Limited (GBPA) successfully concluded their economic recovery initiative targeting micro and livelihood businesses on Grand Bahama.

The SBR program, which launched on 1st May, 2020, has awarded some $450,000 in business restoration funding, bolstering the recovery efforts of more than 100 entrepreneurs devastated by Hurricane Dorian in September 2019.

Director General of The BRSC, Mr. Sean Brennen, explained that the SBR program was the first initiative of its kind instituted by the National Society.  “As a humanitarian aid organization, we know how to plan and execute relief efforts exceptionally well following any major disaster,” Mr. Brennen said. “We also understood that, post-Dorian, economic recovery for Grand Bahama and Abaco was vital to their future. Though this type of collaboration was new to our organization, we are incredibly proud of the work and results of the SBR program. We are grateful to our partner, the GBPA, for sharing their wealth of knowledge and experience in small business support, which provided a data-driven approach to reaching businesses most in need. Likewise, we are appreciative of the support extended from the Access Accelerator (SBDC), which enabled the program to benefit a greater number of businesses than originally projected.”

The SBR team processed nearly 300 applications between 1st May and 6th June.  Of that number, 103 businesses across Grand Bahama received grants in amounts ranging from $3,000 to $6,000. 

“Based on our data post-Dorian and relevant to GBPA’s role in another funding program, we immediately recognized a gap between small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and micro businesses that our partnership with BRCS addressed,” expressed Derek Newbold, Sr. Manager of Business Development for GBPA. “More than ninety per cent of companies that applied to the program were either uninsured or under-insured, resulting in devastating losses and an even more difficult path to post-Dorian recovery. Compounded by the set-backs of a major global pandemic, the hurdles facing many micro businesses seemed insurmountable. Nonetheless, in spite of having to resort to virtual meetings for program development and planning, we were successful in bringing together critical funding, technical expertise, and a wealth of knowledge and experience in humanitarian relief and small business support to execute a highly beneficial and effective program.”

SBR Team meeting with grant recipient RCA Chicken Nest of West Grand Bahama. Pictured are Angelique Saunders, Livelihoods Officer, IFRC; Derek Newbold, Sr. Manager of Business Development for GBPA and Invest Grand Bahama; and Adrian Martinez Ferrandis, IFRC Livelihoods Delegate.

Although the initiative between GBPA, BRCS and the SBDC focused primarily on rebuilding efforts, program objectives also emphasized the importance of building resiliency to mitigate impact stemming from future crises of any kind, be it environmental, social, economic or weather-related.

“In addition to financial support, professional education was an essential component of the SBR program,” said International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) Livelihoods Delegate Adrian Martinez Ferrandis. “To ensure the funding and technical support were effectively utilized, the program was designed to foster more robust community and commercial networks, reinforce strategies for continuity planning, and cultivate increased innovation and use of technology-based solutions to everyday challenges. Program recipients received mandatory training in Financial Management, Marketing & Branding, and Disaster Preparedness and Recovery Training. We are incredibly satisfied with the overall outcome of the SBR Program.”

The Program closed on 26th September, 2020, having executed two complete rounds of grant funding and three entrepreneurial training cohorts for small businesses, facilitated by Island Dreams Management.

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