The Grand Bahama Chamber of Commerce (GBCC) held a Business Workshop on Monday to sensitize business owners on the island to the ‘Angel Investment Program.’
Director and Chairman of the Small Business Development Committee at the GBCC, Charles Pratt shared with The Freeport News the program’s benefits the entrepreneur or small business owners can obtain from the ‘Angel Investors.’
Pratt stated, “The Caribbean Export Development Agency together with the World Bank Group has developed LINK-Caribbean.
“LINK facilitates the whole concept of early stage development funding for businesses, particularly small and medium size businesses.
Pratt expounded on this by stating that LINK-Caribbean provides support to the early stage investment ecosystem through the Regional Angel Investor Network and Investment Facilitation Grants.
The information session, Pratt said, provided interested entrepreneurs the opportunity to learn more about the project from Christopher McNair, Manager – Competitiveness and Export Promotion, Caribbean Export.
“In the morning session, a workshop was led by McNair and in the afternoon the speaker was able to connect with business owners in a one-to-one setting,” Pratt shared.
Pratt disclosed that LINK-Caribbean is an Investment Facilitation Project that aims to improve entrepreneur access to much needed capital with two main objectives. The first objective, Pratt informed is to enable entrepreneurs to raise capital from private investors, principally business angel investors and the second to develop a pan-Caribbean early-stage investment community, with a focus on angel investors in the region, institutional investors and diaspora investors via the creation of a Regional Angel Investor Network.
Noting that in this region early and growth stage businesses play a critical role in sustainable economic and social development, Pratt went on to say that in the Caribbean there is already a competitive focus on export led development and the promotion of investments. “LINK seeks to provide a structured program within the respective countries and with global recognition that facilitates early stage development, funding and mentoring,” Pratt explained.
It is because of the wealth of knowledge the structure has amassed through others in the Caribbean, Pratt said, along with the Workshops and support for the entrepreneur and small business owner that makes the Angel Investor Network a concept Freeport and Grand Bahama can benefit from.
Pratt furthered that the GBCC along with the Invest Grand Bahama Small Business Bureau partnered to bring this program to business owners. “Once there is an opportunity to establish alternate funding there is the opportunity to make a more vibrant economy,” he noted.
Pratt acknowledged the workshop attracted considerable interest from the investor side, and favourable responses were received at the GBCC after Monday’s sensitization workshop. “As Chairman I will try and call a meeting with those McNair reached out to and we can have a video conference or invite him back. It is a proven concept that has been very successful in Trinidad and Tobego and Barbados,” Pratt concluded.
Published Friday, March 31, 2017