Month of events to celebrate small business

MINISTER for Economic Affairs Michael Halkitis yesterday. Photo: Moise Amisial

By LETRE SWEETING

[email protected]

THE Ministry of Economic Affairs yesterday announced the launch of various events and initiatives for November, which has been declared National Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Month to recognize and honor small businesses in the Bahamas.

The Small Business Development Center (SBDC), in collaboration with the Ministry of Economic Affairs, will oversee the execution of this month-long celebration.

Economic Affairs Minister Michael Halkitis expressed his anticipation for the month-long celebration of MSMEs, as he and representatives of the SBDC, who will lead the initiative, were present at the Prime Minister’s Office yesterday for the launch announcement.

“It is well established that micro, small and medium-sized enterprises are the lifeblood of any economy and it is therefore incumbent on government to promote an environment in which MSMEs can thrive and grow into big businesses,” he said.

“To this end, the Government of the Bahamas is committed to supporting the various organizations and entities whose mission is to promote and support MSMEs.”

He added, “The Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Month will be an opportunity for all stakeholders to take stock of the current environment for MSMEs and to discuss and formulate new strategies to support and promote these enterprises. We look forward to a fruitful and productive MSME Month. »

Samantha L Rolle, acting executive director of the SBDC, said that after months of advocacy for the initiative, she was delighted to see it come to fruition.

“In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and given the current signs of recovery in the Bahamas economy, the Government of the Bahamas believes it is timely to highlight and recognize MSMEs and their invaluable contribution to our communities. and the economy in general,” she said.

She added, “Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen a 40% increase in our total number of clients funded. Since the beginning of the year, we have received more than 600 requests between funding programs, advisory services and mentoring opportunities in seven islands.

“As we seek to expand our presence in the Family Islands and by improving our service offering, streamlining processes and continuing to forge strategic partnerships, we anticipate our customer base growing exponentially.”

MSME Month stakeholders include the Small Business Development Center, Bahamas Development Bank (BDB), Venture Capital Fund, BAIC, BAMSI and the government through its procurement practices, said Mr. Halkitis.

On November 5, there will be a brunch and business series in Andros. On November 9, there will be another event in Eleuthera. On November 10, there will be a mix and match event for small business owners and entrepreneurs. On November 17 there will be the Long Island Business Outlook and the next day there will be a series of mixes, mixes and markets in Abaco. On November 22, there will be an all-access business forum at the Warwick Hotel on Paradise Island. The annual Small Business Showcase will take place on November 26, followed by the Grand Bahama Business Expo on November 28-29. The month will end with an honorary celebration in New Providence on November 30.

Jennifer C. Burleigh