By DENISE MAYCOCK
Tribune Freeport Reporter
SOME 80 small businesses in Grand Bahama that were affected by Hurricane Dorian will benefit from a grants programme to assist with reopening their businesses.
A Small Business Recovery grants programme – launched in partnership between The Bahamas Red Cross Society (BRCS) and the Grand Bahama Port Authority, Limited (GBPA) – will offer grants up to $6,000 to qualifying businesses.
This will provide a “much-needed economic stimulus” to Grand Bahama, where many businesses were affected by the devastating hurricane last September.
According to officials, the Small Business Recovery (SBR) grants will be awarded to qualifying micro-businesses, and vendor permit holders throughout Grand Bahama who were affected by Dorian.
Ian Rolle, president of GBPA, noted that hundreds of businesses were forced to close their doors due to the level of mass devastation following the storm.
“Now, as the country prepares for and eagerly awaits the gradual reopening of the local economy, SBR grants will assist qualifying businesses in their rebuilding efforts,” he said on Tuesday.
Speaking on the partnership, Mr. Sean Brennen, Director General of The Bahamas Red Cross Society, said the organization is pleased to partner with the GBPA to support economic recovery throughout The Bahamas.
“Such initiatives are consistent with the guidelines and mission of The Red Cross, which includes preventing and alleviating suffering wherever it may be found, to protect life and health and ensure respect for the human being, and to work for the prevention of disease and the promotion of health and social welfare.
“Given the ongoing economic challenges our country continues to face, this is a significant step forward in helping to ensure a measure of sustainability,” said Mr Brennen.
The programme was implemented on May 1 and is open to applications through its website, www.sbrgrants.com.
Successful grant applicants will also receive mandatory Finance, Marketing, and Disaster Preparedness training by the Invest Grand Bahama Small Business Bureau. Additionally, they have the option of registering with the Grand Bahama Chamber of Commerce for a free one-year membership.
Derek Newbold, Sr. Manager of Business Development for GBPA and Invest Grand Bahama, stated that small businesses are critical to the GB economy, and noted many continue to be challenged with recovery.
“Dorian was an unprecedented climatic event, he said. While many businesses continue to be challenged with recovering, we know that micro and small businesses, including fishing, farming, handicrafts and souvenirs, food, and small services or sales are facing an even greater task. Their recovery is critical to our economy,” he said.
Interested persons may visit www.sbrgrants.com for further information on the programme, eligibility, and application requirements.