Freeport, GB, 6 December, 2019 – The Bahamas – Micro, small and medium businesses now have access to much-needed funding as they prepare for the upcoming holiday season. The Grand Bahama Port Authority, Limited (GBPA), today, announced the “Restoring Industries and Sustaining Employment (RISE) Initiative, in collaboration with Mercy Corps (MC), a leading global humanitarian and development organization.
The RISE initiative will offer grants to at least 100 qualifying local businesses from across Grand Bahama, which have suffered losses as a direct result of Hurricane Dorian. Grants up to $10,000 will be offered, with applicants having access to Mercy Corps’ ground-breaking MicroMentor programme, that pairs business owners with mentors in their sector, to help guide them forward.
According to GBPA Director Henry St. George, the RISE initiative comes as a direct result of GBPA’s post-Hurricane Dorian assessment of nearly 2,000 Licensees.
“Our post-Dorian SME assessment revealed some very sobering data. We learned that nearly 70% of licensees were either uninsured or underinsured; 55% suffered significant damage due to flooding, and while 60% of businesses have re-opened, they continue to struggle to acquire new inventory, replace damaged equipment, and operate in this testing environment.”
With this information in hand the GBPA recognised that their licensees needed support to mitigate these challenges, and needed it quickly. “Businesses that remain closed or that have been able to reopen only partially, need an immediate injection of capital. This help will assist the reestablishment of operations for many of them. Mercy Corps is known globally for its post-disaster recovery experience and we are delighted to be leveraging their expertise for this program and proud to be partnering with them on the RISE initiative.” stated St. George.
The RISE initiative will offer these grants over the next six-months, with applications starting from today. A vetting and approval committee comprised of GBPA, Mercy Corps, the GB Chamber of Commerce, and relevant sector specialists, will oversee the application process. Businesses can qualify for a grant of up to $10K based on the size of the company, the number of employees, the business sector, extent of damages, its viability and other factors.
Mercy Corps Country Director for The Bahamas, Pete Sweetnam, noted “Mercy Corps is delighted to be working in collaboration with GBPA on this initiative, to assist with rebuilding of the economy of Grand Bahama, as well as opening up vital employment opportunities. Mercy Corps is bringing its global expertise in the area of re-establishing viable businesses post disaster and making them more resilient. Building back Better. Our MicroMentor programme, which currently has some 69,000 entrepreneurs and 25,000 mentors across nearly 200 countries, promotes collaboration to overcome obstacles to entrepreneurial success, will be a part of the initiative and open to all businesses right across Grand Bahama.
Mercy Corps has brought considerable funding to the RISE initiative, including from the American Red Cross and is continuing to seek additional funding and new partners for it. This will enable even more businesses to restart, rebuild and thrive, bring more employment right across the island of Grand Bahama.”
The GBPA/MC partnership will place emphasis on small business training, inclusive of disaster recovery planning, post-disaster finance and marketing training, and insurance management. Its MicroMentor program for small businesses will provide essential post-recovery guidance to participating businesses for up to a year.
“We have just come through one of the most catastrophic natural disasters in the history of The Bahamas, which dealt a crippling blow to our business community,” said Derek Newbold, GBPA Sr. Manager of Business Development and Invest Grand Bahama. “It will take unique measures to rebuild, restore and recover what we as a nation have lost. Our partnership with Mercy Corps is a great start to restoring the small businesses that are the lifeblood of our economy.”
To download a copy of the RISE initiative, grant application please visit riseGBPA.com or visit GBPA HQ to collect a copy of this application.
Release: Grand Bahama Port Authority