Island Luck launches self starter grant funding programme


Tribune Staff Reporter


ISLAND Luck, the country's largest webshop chain, officially launched its new self starter grant funding programme, OWN Bahamas, at the British Colonial Hilton Hotel on Thursday night.

OWN Bahamas, the latest of Island Luck's community support-based initiatives, seeks to offer entrepenuerial opportunities for people lacking the capital or funding to start a business independently.

"We wanted to start the OWN programme because we came up through the ranks of challenges and starting up our own businesses, and as entrepreneurs we know that anyone is capable of doing whatever it is that they want to do," Island Luck CEO Sebas Bastian said. "But capital and business expertise is not always easy to find.

"OWN wants to be that bridge between people's goals and dreams and providing the opportunity to achieve just that. We want to basically really own this country, and the only way we can do that is if we empower young Bahamians, encourage them to think outside the box, expand their investment appetite beyond the conventional types of businesses that we see in the Bahamas like our beauty salons and carwash and 99 cent breakfast stands."

According to Mr Bastian, the OWN Programme and Grant Fund was created to promote economic development, and was designed to support the acceleration of the Bahamian economy.

To do this, OWN will offer grant funds to 10 successful applicants. Two of the 10 will subsequently be afforded an all expenses paid trip to visit the Canton Trade Fair in Guangzho, China, in April, as well as $25,000 to start a business of their choice.

The other eight will be given a grant of $5,000 to do the same.

Additionally, all 10 applicants will receive two year's free internet and phone service from the Bahamas Telecommunications Company, two years free radio and print advertising from the Nassau Guardian, one year garbage collection from United Sanitation, and an all expense paid course to the College of The Bahamas starting up small business and business management program.

Atario Mitchell, president of Bahamas Striping Group of Companies, called Thursday's launch a "historic" moment in Bahamian history.

"For Sebas, Island Luck to have a programme such as OWN Bahamas where they try to give birth to more entrepreneurial spirits within our young Bahamians I think it's tremendous," Mr Mitchell said. "I only expect good and positive things from this programme.

"To me it's the opportunity," he added. "I had the opportunity of the self starter programme, and look what I did with my $5,000 grant. I was able to build a multi-million dollar company. So by Bahamians having a different chance through OWN Bahamas to have the opportunity to venture into business I think is tremendous on the part of Sebas by putting together the initiative."

Mervin Sweeting Jr, president of Switcha, the Bahamian drinks company, also had praise for Mr Bastian and the OWN programme.

"As a young entrepeneur I understand the hurdles that young Bahamians have to encounter and are faced with in the country, and it's not easy," he said. "So for a company or organisation like this to be able to grant that kind of capital funding, the exposure and opportunity is tremendous. If we continue that and expand that programme in the Bahamas that creates a lot of new businesses, it helps with employment, that strategy could propel our country and put it on the right track where it's supposed to be."

According to Mr Bastian, applicants have until March 20 to apply online at ownyourbahamas.com. Applicants must  fill out the application and submit a short biography, why they want to be an entrepreneur and their business idea.

A select committee will review all applications before shortlisting them and conducting interviews. The successful applicants will be announced on March 30.


Purcell 7 years, 11 months ago

Al Capone. The mob always threw money around.


ThisIsOurs 7 years, 11 months ago

Thank you. There's one righteous man left in the city. This is a wonderful idea he has proposed, it's an initiative the brainless government should have proposed instead of carnival. But I reject the principle that "it doesn't matter where your money comes from" as quoted by George Smith. I listened to the gentleman giving his "from my bootstraps" speech telling us how he failed out of almost every school he attended but finally found success running an illegal operation, with no less than the PM smiling fondly in the front row. What kind of message is that for our d-average nation to encourage them to look for success by honest and ethical means? Crime pays, is that the message?

And yes mob bosses, drug bosses, war lords, terrorists all have the same modus operandi, drown the people with money and buy their loyalty. Check out the stories about al qaeda building up infrastructure in small towns while they swept through Iraq on their bloody campaign


watcher 7 years, 11 months ago

Pablo Escobar was a favourite of the poor - he built soccer pitches for them


The_Oracle 7 years, 11 months ago

Buying favor, is it not what foreign investors find our politicians want most? Perks, payoffs, slush money. Lord knows the Numbers bosses are flush with cash. They're learning fast.


John 7 years, 11 months ago

Sebas will be a billionaire before he turn 50


SP 7 years, 11 months ago

................. Congratulations Mr. Bastian for "TRYING" to reach out ..............................

People complaining and throwing mud, who have NEVER done anything SHUT-UP!

Accept it or not Sebas Bastian & his Island Luck business is a recognized legitimate operation.

The overall concept is admirable.However, a $5,000 investment is more often than not just enough money to get into trouble. Point well proven by BDB similar failed program.

Instead, It would be better for Sebas to either lower the volume of total grants allowing him to raise the grant amount to $20,000.00. Or better yet, to fund Bahamians in the formation of co-operatives which would have better chance of success because of melding talents of several people and the support factor associated with co-ops.

Hopefully other community minded businessman will join Sebas and help to guide the initiative in the right direction to success.


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