“Although Grand Bahama has faced major economic challenges in recent years, investor confidence remains steady in Freeport. In fact, we continue to see a consistent increase in the number of persons looking to start businesses, especially in the micro and small business sectors,” stated Founder and CEO of Sweeting Administrative Advisors (SAA), Jamal Sweeting, a pioneer in the virtual and shared office environment since 2009.
“With the many challenges such as hurricanes, the COVID-19 pandemic, layoffs and other such hurdles to this economy, it is encouraging to see Grand Bahama’s unwavering entrepreneurial spirit. As a company, Sweeting Administrative Advisors is proud to be a part of assisting local entrepreneurs to realize their goals of business ownership,” Sweeting explained during a recent webinar presentation with the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) on Grand Bahama Island.
As SAA celebrates its 10th anniversary, Sweeting reflects on the spirit behind the company and its contribution to the community.
“In recognizing the need for entrepreneurs to have greater opportunities to start and grow a business, it felt fulfilling to introduce a business, first of its kind to the island, that provides a permanent home where they are assisted and celebrated. SAA has supported the launch of more than 100 micro and small businesses over the years including lawyers, real estate agents, shipping companies, security firms, accountants, architects, IT specialists, barbers, nail technicians and many others,” he shared. “Our professional co-working environment provides much-needed support and cultivation of entrepreneurs on the island of Grand Bahama.”
During a recent tour of SAA’s executive office at the Insurance Management Building, Grand Bahama Port Authority, Limited (GBPA) Senior Manager of Business Development, Derek Newbold, commended SAA for its ongoing support of local businesses.
“Statistics show that less than 50% of new businesses survive beyond the first year. Further, it is also proven that companies with access to essential support services typically experience a higher success rate during formative years. These kinds of operations can add tremendous value to start-ups, and we appreciate SAA’s direct and indirect contributions to the local business environment,” Newbold stated.
In just ten years, SAA has already expanded to three locations, serving Bahamian clients from all over the archipelago, US and Southern Caribbean with investment portfolios ranging from $5 thousand to more than $250 thousand. According to Sweeting, women entrepreneurs aged 25 to 70 accounts for 55% of their client base.
“Empowering young women and the community's youth is important to us as a company, and we demonstrate this in several ways. For example, each year SAA provides at least 20 students with the opportunity to work through the government employment program each summer. In addition, we are the only small business to sponsor and be involved in the national Junior Achievement Program,” cited Sweeting.
The impacts of the global COVID-19 pandemic have fostered an increased adoption of virtual working environments for many companies and bolstered SAA's growth over the past year, and Sweeting believes this growth will continue as entrepreneurs find new and creative avenues to enter the marketplace.
In commemoration of its ten-year milestone, SAA will award one month of free shared or virtual space rental for six of its turnkey spaces. The package includes first, last and security fees, furniture, phone lines and internet access, power, post office box and official business address. The awardee company only has to pay for the space beginning in the second month of operation and moving forward.
“Being an entrepreneur is a difficult decision, and at times it is not easy,"” Sweeting continued. “However, every real entrepreneur knows that, once you survive the hard times, there is assurance that the freedom and fulfilment of working for yourself can bring a joy to your life like nothing else can. It is for this reason that you need to be around people that go through the same challenges as you and can help keep you motivated when you find yourself feeling discouraged. This is the greatest service that SAA provides - support in all senses of the word for business owners.”
He further stated that customers experience great synergy in its best form with the company and encouraged entrepreneurs to consider SAA when planning to start their journey. The company provides three locations, including the Small Business office, Vocational suites and Professional offices located in Downtown Freeport. For more information, interested persons may connect with SAA via Facebook @sweetingadvisors, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (242) 807-6033.