A team from The Bahamas’ Access Accelerator Small Business Development Centre (SBDC) has spent three days in Jamaica sharing knowledge in assisting start-ups.
Arranged by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the February 10-13 trip enabled SBDC executives to meet Jamaican counterparts who are also working to promote entrepreneurship and help small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs).
The Bahamian group met with the IDB of Jamaica, the Jamaica Business Development Corporation and the Development Bank of Jamaica. Each organisation plays a major role in the continued expansion of Jamaica’s MSMEs and manufacturing sector.
Davinia Blair, Access Accelerator’s executive director, said: “We are grateful to the Inter-American Development Bank for this opportunity to network with like-minded organisations in Jamaica. The camaraderie, understanding and ideas exchanged reinforced that we are on the right track. “
What stood out to her the most was a conversation with Althea Meyers-Walters, manager of business services at the Jamaica Business Development Corporation. “Walters said that what makes them successful is that they ‘don’t sell business plans like bags of flour over the counter’, and I wholeheartedly agreed,” Ms Blair added.
“To date we have over 3,000 entrepreneurs signed up for our programme across New Providence and the Family Islands. We are going to get to each one of them, but it will be a process because processes are necessary to ensure these businesses succeed. Like Walters said: ‘No bags of flour.”
Accompanying Ms Blair to Jamaica were Nicholas Higgs, senior business development specialist, and Winston Rolle, business advisor, who described the trip as beneficial and successful.
“Even though it was only a two-day trip, we found it to be beneficial, and we came back with many insights that can help us to sharpen our model here,” Mr Rolle said. “We were able to get alternative options, and foster ideas on how to best handle the large influx of clientele as a start-up, and streamlining persons in a process that will help us to be even more efficient and effective.”
The SBDC is the product of a tripartite arrangement between the Government, through the Ministry of Finance; University of The Bahamas (UB); and the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation (BCCEC). The Centre will work to guide the development, funding, growth, and evolution of MSMEs in The Bahamas.
Pictured L to R: are Winston Rolle, SBDC advisor; Keera Walters, assistant manager, business advisory services; Althea West-Myers, manager, business advisory services; and executive director of the Access Accelerator, Davinia Blair
Pictured L to R: Executive director Davinia Blair; Nichols Higgs, senior business strategist; and advisor for the SBDC, Winston Rolle, with team members from the Development Bank of Jamaica