By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
Executives at the Bahamas Striping Group of Companies (BSGC) yesterday said their phones were "ringing off the hook" despite their $1 million facility to assist local entrepreneurs not having launched yet.
The company, which recently celebrated its seventh anniversary, has pledged the sum to help Bahamian start-ups via its Investment Group arm.
"We have created an investment company called the Investment Group, and we are pledging $1 million to assist persons in business to advance and grow their business, as well as entrepreneurs who want to get started," said Allen Albury, BSGC's managing director.
"We're not just giving capital funding but also a bank of expertise. That will range from sales and marketing to all aspects of the business. We will provide a pool of experts to help assist businesses, much like an incubator."
"What will happen is we will take an equity position, which would allow us to recover the return on the investment. It's going to work like an equity loan similar to the Bahamas Entrepreneurial Venture Fund," he added.
Mr Albury said BSGC was born from a $5,000 Self-Starter grant to its original company, Bahamas Striping, and was now looking to give back after growing into a multi-million dollar company.
"The phones have been ringing off the hook. It really speaks to the need for funding for small and medium-sized businesses. We will officially launch in 60 days, and so it will be some time in August," said Mr Albury.
He added that the funding will not be directed to any specific industries. "We will entertain opportunities in any sector of the economy. We want to help persons who have a business and may need some capital to grow it, or have a dream and don't know how to make it a reality," Mr Albury said.
BSGC's president, Atario Mitchell, told Tribune Business: "Access to capital is a major challenge for many small businesses. We have dealt with the self-starter programme and the Venture Fund.
"What we are offering is more than just funding. We want to help businesses with things like marketing and sales and legal advice. That's is extremely important. One of the things we agitated for with the self-starter programme was for support. It's easy to give money but, as a young man who was 23-years-old at the time, I needed more than just money; I needed support."