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Grant Plan's $450,000 For 100 Dorian Victims

More than 100 Grand Bahama entrepreneurs have been awarded a collective $450,000 in Dorian restoration funding during a five-month Small Business Recovery (SBR) grant initiative.

The Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA) and its partner in the effort, the Bahamas Red Cross Society (BRCS), said that had completed an initiative targeting micro and livelihood businesses on the island.

Sean Brennen, the Bahamas Red Cross Society's director-general, said the initiative was the first of its kind instituted by the national society. "As a humanitarian aid organisation, we know how to plan and execute relief efforts exceptionally well following any major disaster,” Mr Brennen said. “We also understood that, post-Dorian, economic recovery for Grand Bahama and Abaco was vital to their future.

"Though this type of collaboration was new to our organisation, we are incredibly proud of the work and results of the SBR programme. We are grateful to our partner, the GBPA, for sharing their wealth of knowledge and experience in small business support, which provided a data-driven approach to reaching businesses most in need.

"Likewise, we are appreciative of the support extended from the Access Accelerator (Small Business Development Centre), which enabled the programme to benefit a greater number of businesses than originally projected."

The SBR team processed nearly 300 applications between May 1 and June 6. Of that number, 103 businesses across Grand Bahama received grants ranging from $3,000 to $6,000.

"Based on our data post-Dorian, and relevant to GBPA’s role in another funding programme, we immediately recognised a gap between small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and micro businesses that our partnership with BRCS addressed," said Derek Newbold, the GBPA's senior manager of business development.

"More than 90 per cent of companies that applied to the programme were either uninsured or under-insured, resulting in devastating losses and an even more difficult path to post-Dorian recovery. Compounded by the setbacks of a major global pandemic, the hurdles facing many micro businesses seemed insurmountable.

"Nonetheless, in spite of having to resort to virtual meetings for programme development and planning, we were successful in bringing together critical funding, technical expertise, and a wealth of knowledge and experience in humanitarian relief and small business support to execute a highly beneficial and effective programme."

Although the initiative between the GBPA, Red Cross and SBDC focused primarily on rebuilding efforts, the objectives also emphasised the importance of building resiliency to mitigate the impact from future environmental, social, economic or weather-related crises.

"In addition to financial support, professional education was an essential component of the SBR programme,” said International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) Livelihoods delegate, Adrian Martinez Ferrandis.

“To ensure the funding and technical support were effectively utilised, the programme was designed to foster more robust community and commercial networks, reinforce strategies for continuity planning, and cultivate increased innovation and use of technology-based solutions to everyday challenges.

"Programme recipients received mandatory training in financial management, marketing and branding, and disaster preparedness and recovery training. We are incredibly satisfied with the overall outcome of the SBR programme.”

The initiative closed on September 26, 2020, having executed two complete rounds of grant funding and three entrepreneurial training groups for small businesses, which were facilitated by Island Dreams Management.

Captions

Pictured from L to R: Stephanie Barr, Bahamas Red Cross administrator, Grand Bahama; Yvette O'Conno, director, Access Accelerator SBDC, Grand Bahama; Davinia Blair, executive director, Access Accelerator SBDC; Ian Rolle, president, GBPA; Renaldi Forbes, chairman, Bahamas Red Cross Grand Bahama; Sarah St George, acting chairman, GBPA; Derek Newbold, senior manager of business development, GBPA; Angelique Saunders, livelihoods officer, IFRC; and Adrian Martinez Ferrandis, livelihoods delegate, IFRC

The SBR team meets with grant recipient RCA Chicken Nest of west Grand Bahama. Pictured are Angelique Saunders, livelihoods officer, IFRC; Derek Newbold, GBPA's senior manager of business development and Invest Grand Bahama; and Adrian Martinez Ferrandis, IFRC livelihoods delegate

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