Nicholas Higgs, Managing Director, Bahamas Development Bank (BDB), said one of the hardest sectors to finance or one of the most stubborn areas to finance in the country is the Orange (creative) Economy.
“The creative space is misunderstood by a lot of investors,” Mr. Higgs said. “Traditional finance persons do not really get the orange and creative space.”
However, the BDB is finding mechanisms to allow creatives to receive financing, he said during the official launch of the C15 Studios Ltd. partnership with the Bahamas Development Bank at the National Art Gallery, Monday, June 26, 2023.
The BDB is signing a Memorandum of Understanding that will give creatives unprecedented access to international funding through C15 Studious Ltd., which is a Caribbean cash flow solutions company based in Trinidad & Tobago specializing in the creative sector.
C15 Studios Ltd. was established in 2018, with a vision to be an integral link between the Caribbean creative sector and the financial sector, C15 Studios’ objectives are:
• to enhance the creative sector for profitability and sustainability
• to link the Caribbean creative sector with viable investors and investments
• to become the premiere Caribbean platform for access to capital for creative professionals
Mr. Higgs said with the Bank’s “exclusive relationship” with the C15 Studios Ltd., when someone is seeking financing through this international fund, they would have to go through the BDB.
“Why is this positive? We can ensure you know exactly what your project needs to look like to get approved.”
Mr. Higgs explained that previously clients were sending their documentation themselves and were not getting approved. Sumayyah Cargill, Head of Strategic Development and Initiatives, BDB explained that the Bank needed to better meet the needs of Bahamian creators. Therefore, it began exploring its options.
“We got assistance from the Caribbean Development Bank in the form of regional training for the assessment of creative businesses.
Ms. Cargill added, “We are grateful to our international partners for their support in building our support in this area. That regional workshop led us to C15, an innovative investment fund that was seeking to do what we also set out to do, which is fund creatives.”
Lorraine O’Connor, General Manager, C15 Studios Ltd. said her company believes in the talent of Caribbean creatives and wants to move the industry from sustainability to profitability.
She said the company has different levels of support or solutions to problems. “Those solutions will be driven by the BDB who is our partner here.”
They will be providing financing in three different ways: equity investments, trade financing and debt financing.
Other speakers during the event included Phylicia Hanna, Director, the Bahamas Investment Authority and Brickell Pinder, Director, Trade & Industry, Ministry of Economic Affairs.
The Bank will release information on its social media pages and websites to further update those in the creative sector on how to apply for funding.