NASSAU, The Bahamas — The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and Access Accelerator, Small Business Development Centre Bahamas (SBDC) signed a memorandum of agreement to signify the commencement of a program that will assist small and medium-sized businesses in the blue economy sector.
With approximately $400,000 of direct funding, the four-year Blue Economy Accelerator Program will focus on providing knowledge, training and technical support while increasing awareness of business prospects for owners of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME).
The MOU is timely, as deliberate measures to revitalize the blue economy is necessary, according to Executive Director of SBDC, Samantha L. Rolle.
“It has been proven that collaboration through trust, partnership and unity are critical for achieving shared goals confronting the challenges faced by MSMEs and supporting the development of viable businesses specifically in the blue economy sector,” she said.
And while funding for the MSMEs is important, according to Rolle, sustaining the businesses through other means of assistance is also vital to growing the blue economy sector.
“The idea is to not just provide funding, but to provide the technical support that’s needed to those small and medium-sized businesses in order to succeed,” she said.
According to Marcia D. Musgrove, TNC’s Northern Caribbean (Bahamas) Program Director, The Nature Conservancy has received funding from The Global Fund for Coral Reefs, a United Nations program seeking projects around the world to invest and support local businesses that aid in the restoration and protection of coral reefs.
“We thought it a natural fit that conservation of this ecosystem will go hand in hand with supporting businesses around the country who are committed to sustainable use of our marine resources,” Musgrove said.
Also present were: Lorne Basden, Board Chair, SBDC; Shenique Smith, Director for Caribbean Division, TNC; and Frederick Arnett, Coral Project Specialist, TNC.
The prospected launch of the Blue Economy Accelerator program is set for mid-year 2023.
(BIS Photo/Kristaan Ingraham)