Government is seeking to ‘level the playing field’ for Bahamian small businesses and entrepreneurs according to Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis who revealed during his 2021/2022 budget communication that small business and entrepreneurs will be able to apply for and obtain duty free concessions on all the items needed to start or expand their business, including on the first stock of inventory.
The measure was announced as one of several initiatives under the government’s Accelerate Bahamas plan. The prime minister noted, “Small and medium sized businesses have often lamented that start-up costs are prohibitive and that big businesses and foreign investors get the kinds of incentives they do not qualify for. We are addressing this concern head on, ensuring that Bahamians have access to start-up concessions just as large investment projects do. Now every Bahamian small business and entrepreneur will be able to apply for and obtain duty free concessions on all the items needed to start or expand their business, including on the first stock of inventory,” said Dr Minnis.
He noted that anyBahamian entrepreneur or any small business with an annual turnover of less than $5 million will get the same treatment as the mega resort, or the large manufacturer. “We are leveling the playing field,” he said.
He further noted that more than 1,000 small businesses were approved for loan and grant financing as part of my government’s COVID-19 program. This initiative administered by the Access Accelerator Small Business Development Center or SBDC, represented a collective $45 million allocated and dispersed;
● For businesses in the fishing and agriculture sector, duty on all related fishing and agriculture equipment was reduced, along with the SBDC providing $5 million in loan and grant financing to these sectors.
● More than $800,000 was disbursed to 41 applicants as part of the pre-school grant program, providing wider access to early childhood education;
● Approximately $1.6 million in grant funding has been provided as part of our stand-alone grant programs allowing 164 new and existing businesses a chance to play a greater role in our economy
● $1.5 million in equity financing has been provided to small businesses via the Bahamas Entrepreneurial Venture Capital Fund.
The prime minister noted that government will make $250 million in financing available to the SBDC over the next 5 years starting with its first injection of $35 million in this upcoming budget.