~Business Continuity Loans from $5,000 to $300,000 geared towards helping Bahamian businesses weather the economic fallout from the current COVID-19 pandemic. SBDC, Nassau, Bahamas: Through the Access Accelerator Small Business Development Centre, the Government of The Bahamas has allocated $20 million to assist small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak.
The Business Continuity Loan Program officially launches Wednesday, March 25, 2020. It will provide loans to small businesses, facilitated through partnerships with financial institutions, ranging from $5,000 to $300,000, to cover operating costs. The funds will go toward paying salaries, rent, insurance, utilities and inventory/supplies. Through the initiative, approved loans will require no payments for four months.
The Access Accelerator is also advocating for the deferral of existing loan payments for entrepreneurs who may already have loans with lending institutions. Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) has already publicly pledged to defer loan payments for their clients for three months, and CIBC FirstCaribbean is guaranteeing six months of deferred payments for their clients. Existing small businesses – companies operating with a valid business license for one year or more – can apply to the program via the Access Accelerator website (www.accessaccelerator.org). All companies must agree to retain 51 per cent of staff and agree to have credit information shared with the Credit Bureau and other banking and financial institutions in the future to be part of the initiative.
Financial institutions that have agreed to participate in the program: BAF Financial & Insurance (Bahamas) Ltd., Bahamas Entrepreneurial Venture Fund, Leno Corporate Services Ltd., Omni Financial Group Ltd., Simple Lending Ltd, Bahamas Development Bank and participating commercial banks.
Executive Director of the Access Accelerator, Davinia Grant explained that while that non-profit organization will facilitate the relief program, lending partners will be responsible for client vetting, approvals, distribution of funds and collection.