The fourth cohort of participants in the Grand Bahama Micro and Small Business Empowerment Programme received their Self Starter and Business Evolution grants during a presentation at the Office of the Prime Minister on Thursday (June 6).
Minister of State for Grand Bahama in the Office of the Prime Minister Senator J. Kwasi Thompson congratulated the participants who completed a long process.
“I am so thankful that we are here today at such a wonderful occasion,” he said.
Sen. Thompson also commended Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources Michael Pintard, Member of Parliament for Marco City, who could not attend the ceremony that day, for his contributory efforts to the programme.
Sen. Thompson furthered that the extensive programme should benefit the new and established businesses.
He expressed that the mentorship and training courses participants had during the programme will assist them if they use what they learned in the right ways.
“The value of those courses even exceeds the value of the funds that you are getting,” he added.
Sen. Thompson said that several participants have even commented that they appreciated the courses even more than the actual grant.
He advised that Grand Bahamians must be prepared to take advantage of the multitude of opportunities that are coming.
He revealed that the Small Business Development Centre in Grand Bahama has trained about 158 persons. “When we say that small business development is important, we mean small business development is important.”
Sen. Thompson urged the entrepreneurs to be creative and innovative in order to be successful in this economic climate.
According to Sen. Thompson, Grand Bahama’s season of economic progress is coming.
The participants of this cohort included – Fenrick Russell, Cedric Delancey, Sharon Pinder of Gwen’s Straw; Shabana Pinder of Nail Candy Depot; Demetria Russell, Cheryl Bartlett of Chocolatess; Richard Ellis of Gullywash Beach Bar and Grill; Billy Kelly of Kelly Straw Arts and Crafts; Marvin Francis of Marvelous Entertainment; Aryanna Roberts of Artistic Soul Productions; Claudine Tucker, Janet Munnings of Crochet Treasures; Reniska Cartwright of Braids by Nishska; Francia Rahming, Janet Mullins of Crochet Treasures Bahamas; Althea Thompson of Fat Gal Party Shots and Specialty; Shakara Jones-Rolle of Taco World; Rodnell Stewart, Natasha Russell of Glam R Us; Latoya Saunders, Harcourt Wilkinson of Wilkinson Public Bus Service, along with several others.
Permanent Secretary Harcourt Brown, in his remarks, thanked the lecturers who contributed to the programme.
Brown also commended Sen. Thompson, who was the driving force behind the continuance of the programme. “We are here now as a testament of his pushing, as a testament of his insistence.”
Reportedly 80 persons applied for the programme.
The programme was launched by Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis on November 24, 2017.
The Self Starter Grant is for persons in the programme who want to start a business and the Business Evolution Grant applies to participants who want to expand already existing businesses.
The Office of the Prime Minister has worked along with the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture to conduct the programme, which has three phases.
The first phase is the two-week business training course designed to equip participants with existing businesses with fundamental skills and tools of business management.
Phase two allows each candidate the opportunity to compete against other participants for a chance to access an available business grant of $5,000.
Phase three of the programme involves each successful grant winner being paired with a seasoned mentor who will provide expert advice and guidance for their startup and their existing venture.
The wide variety of businesses that they were able to benefit from this programme included food, crafts, activities and culturally based businesses.