Entrepreneurial training for 32 successful recipients of the Small Business Recovery (SBR) grant program began last week in a virtual classroom.
The partnership initiative between The Bahamas Red Cross Society (BRCS) and The Grand Bahama Port Authority, Limited (GBPA) grants up to $6,000 in funding and business support for Grand Bahama micro-businesses impacted by Hurricane Dorian. The assistance comes at a very critical time for businesses struggling to recover from Dorian and now realizing the effects of COVID-19.
Although funding is the primary focus of the program, BRCS Director-General Sean Brennan explained that mandatory business training was particularly critical to re-building a more resilient small business sector for the island.
“The Bahamas Red Cross Society is honored to partner with the Grand Bahama Port Authority in making the SBR grant program a reality. We were especially pleased with the success of the opening round of applications, and we look forward to the program’s continuation. BRCS is committed to assisting micro and small businesses severely impacted by Hurricane Dorian, and this ongoing partnership will provide them with both immediate financial recovery and essential training,” said Brennan.
Island Dreams Management, facilitators of the training, designed the courses exclusively for the SBR grant program, focusing primarily on business management fundamentals, but from a digital and cloud-based perspective. Topics covered over the four-week Entrepreneurial Bootcamp include Business and Financial Planning, Branding, Marketing, Crisis Management and Networking. Participants also receive a free one-year membership with the Grand Bahama Chamber of Commerce and an introduction to MicroMentor, a global business mentorship platform.
Participants noted that the training has given them a new level of confidence. “This first week of SBR training has been very informative and eye-opening for me,” stated Mr. Julius Lewis, proprietor of Doc’s Conch Stand. “I remember several years ago a dear customer asked me where I saw my business in terms of growth ten years from now. I did not have a good answer back then but, after my first week in the SBR training program, I could tell him about my business’ SMART goals, which I’d have readily at hand because of my SWOT analysis.”
Re-opening has been especially challenging for businesses within the targeted micro-license and vendor permit sectors, and the SBR grant provides support for their recovery and growth. Derek Newbold, Senior Manager of Business Development for GBPA and Invest Grand Bahama, said that the SBR grant program is designed to support economic recovery and help build resilience for micro-businesses in particular.
“The SBR Grant program assists business owners with re-establishing operations and provides support to those that have resumed operations, but are challenged with sustainability given the economic impacts of Dorian,” said Newbold. “The mandatory complimentary training focuses on enhancing essential business skills as well as disaster preparedness and recovery training to equip them with the knowledge to mitigate the impact of future catastrophic events.”