With the shared goal of giving small businesses a much-needed boost after a pandemic that has devastated so many, the Access Accelerator Small Business Development Center (Access Accelerator) and Royal Caribbean Group are excited to announce a hot new agreement that creates opportunities to bring some Bahamian sizzle to the cruise company’s delectable dining with local pepper and hot sauces created by aspiring Bahamian entrepreneurs.
The partnership ─ the first of its kind in The Bahamas ─ will support Bahamian small businesses through a pilot program focusing on local producers of hot and pepper sauces. Budding entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to be selected to showcase their products on Royal Caribbean ships and properties, including its private island destination Perfect Day at CocoCay in the Berry Islands. The products would also be made available for purchase at the cruise ports in The Bahamas as well as at Royal Caribbean’s planned developments on Grand Bahama and Paradise Island.
The parties are discussing expanding the relationship to include agricultural-related shore excursion tours for Royal Caribbean guests dubbed “agro-tourism” that will center around the farming of native peppers and pepper sauce production. Royal Caribbean will engage small businesses to create a tour experience for its more than one million guests visiting The Bahamas annually to have the opportunity to experience a taste of local culture and to see firsthand how the peppers are grown and sauces are made.
Davinia Grant, executive director of the Access Accelerator, said the partnership focuses on a major area that the organization has prioritized: the farming industry.
“There is a lot to be excited about as we partner with Royal Caribbean Group and look at growing our relationship in the future. This opportunity allows small businesses to have their products enjoyed internationally by potentially millions of people,” Grant said. “As an organization, we are focused on inspiring Bahamians into farming not only as an avenue to boost the economy, but to increase food security for Bahamians.” 2
She continued, “This venture will allow the Access Accelerator to create business-to-business linkages on a large scale for small businesses. We look forward to pulling together small businesses to secure large contracts. Agro-tourism is estimated to have a global market value of $10.1 billion by 2024. With Royal Caribbean Group helping to support this industry, we believe this initiative will have a positive impact on the small business sector and the entire Bahamas.”
“We have seen what the impact of the pandemic has been to the people of The Bahamas, a country with an economy dependent on tourism,” said Michael Bayley, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean International. “We applaud Access Accelerator for its dedication to the support of small business development and look forward to partnering with the organization to find new and ongoing opportunities to re-ignite the economic growth of the destination that we consider our home.”