Bacardi pledges massive support for the economic recovery of GB Small Business Sector

PARTNERSHIP FOR ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT – Bacardi pledges close to $1 million in support funding for businesses impacted by Hurricane Dorian, during a press conference and ceremonial signing recently. The iconic global organization joins implementing partners, GBPA and MC, on the RISE Grant Initiative. Picture from left to right are Al Panico, Field Representative, American Red Cross Society; Michael Bowers, VP Humanitarian Leadership, Mercy Corps; Henry St. George, GBPA Director; Mahesh Madhavan, CEO, Bacardi Limited and Ian Rolle, President, GBPA Group. (PHOTO COURTESY OF THE GBPA)

Micro and small businesses impacted by Hurricane Dorian received positive news on Friday, January 31 that additional support is available to assist them with post-storm recovery efforts. 

Executives of the Grand Bahama Port Authority, Limited (GBPA), Mercy Corps International (MC), and the American Red Cross (ARC) welcomed executives of Bacardi Limited as an official supporting partner of the Hurricane Dorian recovery efforts. 

The group visited Grand Bahama for a ceremonial signing and press conference, announcing the nearly $1 million in support for economic recovery. The initiative is open to all small businesses affected by Hurricane Dorian, and Bacardi funding will specifically target businesses within the hospitality and tourism sectors. 

“Bacardi has pledged to put close to $1million behind the relief and reconstruction plans in Grand Bahama through our partnership with Mercy Corps and the Grand Bahama Port Authority. We aim to directly support more than 40 businesses, helping them to rebuild and stand on their own two feet, and to support hundreds more with access to training,” Mahesh Madhavan, CEO for Bacardi Limited expressed. 

“I’m very honoured and privileged to be here speaking on behalf of Bacardi and to show our support for the people of Grand Bahama.”  The iconic global organization joins implementing partners, GBPA and Mercy Corps, on the RISE Grant Initiative, which launched in early December 2019. RISE has already awarded approximately $160k in recovery grant funding to-date, and recipients will also receive a training programme and access to Mercy Corps’ pioneering mentorship platform, MicroMentor. 

Thanks to the contribution from Bacardi and others, the initiative can now support 200 business owners, doubling the original target. “We welcome Bacardi as a new partner of the RISE programme with a specific focus on supporting businesses in the hospitality and food and beverage sectors. Their assistance will buttress an industry vertical in which we foresee significant new foreign direct investment over the coming months, and one in which we forecast sustained growth in the medium term,” cited GBPA Director, Henry St. George. “We are all so very grateful to have Bacardi on board; their generosity will make a really meaningful impact on the revitalization of Grand Bahama’s economy.” 

The partners spent time discussing the needs of the small business sector with a group of successful grant applicants including Stephanie Ferguson, president, and Buffie Dorset, partner at Phoenix Brokerage and Shipping; Sherica Smith Pinder, co-owner of Shabo’s Conch Salad; Charles Wayne Hall, owner of Local Organics and Capt. Patrick Cartwright owner– Triple-A Boatcare and Maintenance. 

Madhavan shared the story of family-owned Bacardi and offered encouragement and hope to the group of entrepreneurs. The initiative provides grants of up to $10,000 in business recovery funding for eligible businesses. Cohort III is now in process and accepting applications; the deadline to submit for this round is noon on Friday, February 7. 

Partners encourage businesses across Grand Bahama that fit the selection criteria, to apply at www.risegbpa.com. “We’re excited to be teaming up with such talented partners to support the recovery of communities and small business owners in Grand Bahama,” explained Michael Bowers, Vice President Humanitarian Leadership for Mercy Corps. “Working together, we believe we can connect small business owners to the tools and resources they need to rebuild and grow,” he concluded.

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