THE Organisation for Responsible Governance (ORG) has teamed with a United Nations (UN) body for an initiative designed to aid Dorian-ravaged micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs).
The partnership with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) is designed to give small businesses on Grand Bahama and Abaco a platform to outline their current challenges via an online survey.
The results of the study will help to determine the effectiveness of current and past efforts to assist MSMEs through the post-Dorian and COVID-19 crisis. The survey can be found at ORGs website orgbahamas.com/sme.
“The survey will officially launch on Thursday, November 19,” said ORG’s executive director, Matt Aubry. “Over three weeks, we will engage these business owners on a wide range of issues like the impact of COVID-related restrictions, challenges with access to supplies after the hurricane and how government support has affected their capacity to remain open.”
Using ORG’s relationships with the Small Business Development Centre (SBDC), local Chambers of Commerce and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), the survey will be broadcast to multiple networks for completion.
The survey is estimated to take 15 minutes, with anonymity for all companies. The results will be presented to the Ministry of Finance and the Small Business Development Centre to aid future policies and legislation, while also fostering MSME sustainability and resilience, particularly when faced by emergencies.
ORG had engaged Barefoot Marketing to assist with a media campaign designed to raise awareness about the initiative, and to conduct phone surveys to help participants have even greater access to participate in the study.
“We understand that many businesses may have had to relocate to smaller spaces or have transitioned into home businesses,” said Tiffany Bain, ORG’s research officer for the project. “It is critical that we secure a broad and representative sample of the MSMEs that made up much of the economy in Abaco and Grand Bahama to gain meaningful and relevant information. We encourage everyone on these islands to share the survey and assist us in reaching all.”
MSMEs have long been considered key economic drivers for any strong economy.
In The Bahamas, companies falling into these categories represent more than 90 percent of businesses across the country.
In recent months, however, these businesses - particularly those in the northern Bahamas - have struggled to navigate difficult economic times caused by Hurricane Dorian in September 2019 and then the widespread impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic.
The dual crisis has seen scores of once-thriving enterprises make the difficult to decision to lay off staff, open part-time, or close their businesses altogether.