ProNET Seminar focuses on empowering small business owners

SEMINAR – The GBPA’s Invest Grand Bahama Small Business Bureau along with the Grand Bahama Chamber of Commerce hosted the ProNet Workshop focusing on small business management Wednesday, May 29 at the Chamber’s Headquarters.(PHOTO: JENNEVA

Small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs are expected to leave the two-day ProNET Seminar with a wealth of knowledge, said partnering organization representatives from the Grand Bahama Chamber of Commerce (GBCC) and the Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA).

The ProNET Certified Business Management Training Programme opened yesterday – Wednesday, May 29 and will conclude today – Thursday, May 30 – at the Grand Bahama Chamber of Commerce Office.

President of the Grand Bahama Chamber of Commerce Greg Laroda, described the seminar as a, “two-day training and education programme for small business operators or persons who want to get into the operation of small business on the Island of Grand Bahama.

“We plan to take them (participants) through some of the basics that you need to know if you want to give your business a good chance to survive in this environment. So, we’ll be talking about things like pricing and budgeting, finances and that type of topics.”

He said organizers are hopeful over the next two-days, participants would go away equipped with the information and resources to help their businesses grow and survive for the long-term.

Speaking to the importance of the seminar, Laroda said, “I think this is very important, because the stats have been out there for a long time that say, really that the odds are against you as a small business operator or start-up, within the five years or so, more than half the businesses that start-up would fail.

“And a lot of times it is that the business does not have enough capital or if it’s properly funded, then it is the operation – not knowing how to keep separate accounts for your business verses the personal account.

“You also have, now, taxes to be concerned about; so, you really have to have a good accounting system, you have to know about finances and you just need that basic information to help your business survive. Additionally, I think this is an ideal time for small business operators to take advantage of it (seminar), while maybe, they are not as busy as they would like to be, instead of just sitting back and waiting for better times,” said Laroda.

He encouraged business owners to take advantage of initiatives like the seminar, to really focus on their business and give it an opportunity to improve.

Laroda said that when he came to office back in November 2018, one of the initiatives he wanted to focus on was small business on the Island of Grand Bahama. “And, I wanted to get the message out there that we’re the Grand Bahama Chamber of Commerce not the Freeport Chamber of Commerce.

“I wanted to invite East and West GB into the fold and so, we have been doing initiatives to try and get to them and encourage them to come in. We want to be the point of resource that a lot of these small businesses can come to when they need help and assistance.

“Therefore, we want to continue to provide events like this, in partnership with the Port Authority or the government and other stakeholders on the island, to really give the small businesses a chance to thrive in this economy,” said Laroda.

LaShawn Dames of Invest Grand Bahama Small Business Bureau (IGBSBB) noted that the training is a collaborative effort between the GBCC, the GPBA, the Caribbean Export Development Agency and ProNET.

“This training is going to provide cost and financial manage ment as a business strategy,” she added. “It is a certificate training programme and participants will receive a certificate at the end of the sessions.”

She explained that ProNET is a globally recognized and accredited training institution that specifically focuses on micro, small and medium enterprises and it is a programme that is offered throughout the Caribbean Region through Caribbean Export Development Agency.

“And so, we, the Port Authority, thought, especially in light of the announcements that have been made for Freeport … our focus right now is how can we prepare as many businesses and as many aspiring entrepreneurs to capitalize on what is to come.

“We recently offered the tourism training … this training here, is just your basic business management skills which we of course, know is among the top three reasons why companies fail.

“So, our focus is on how we empower small businesses, how do we empower aspiring entrepreneurs, how do we get our residents, GB residents, to benefit, to be prepared and to capitalize on the opportunities coming,” said Dames.

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