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Local SME Sector Needs Greater Diversity

“Whilst the economy is making small but steady progress, increased diversity and innovation within the city’s small business sector would definitely add value for residents and to the local economic landscape,” stated Ian Rolle, President of The Grand Bahama Port Authority, Limited (GBPA), referring to the Port’s recent introduction of a Business Diversity Waiver (BDW) for the Downtown Business Area. 

“As with the upcoming “Business Innovation & e-Commerce” workshop, all initiatives by our Invest Grand Bahama Small Business Bureau (IGBSBB), in 2017, will focus on encouraging increased business diversity and innovation, which at present is lacking within our small business sector. That said, one important measure that we are taking is to incentivize entrepreneurs who are thinking outside the box, with a one year GBPA Licence Fee Waiver, when they launch their creative business ideas within the Downtown area,” he added. 

The president also noted that while the Downtown area will serve as the launch pad for this pilot initiative, GBPA is hopeful that the results would translate into more variety and options for locals as well as visitors, with regard to customer experiences in shopping, dining, entertainment, etc.

THINK CREATIVELY: INDIEGOGO’s Sr. Campaign Strategist, Alana Jesse presenting on Crowdfunding as an alternative method of raising capital during a recent workshop hosted by The Grand Bahama Port Authority. Jesse encouraged Licensees that creativity and innovation are key to the success of their businesses.

GBPA’s Business Innovation & e-Commerce workshop is slated for June 8th at the Grand Lucayan Resort, and will feature international headliners such as SHOPIFY.  According to Derek Newbold, Sr. Manager of Business Development and Invest Grand Bahama, all elements of the upcoming workshop will support the new BDW. “We all know the traditional business concepts; in fact they currently hold the majority share of the local economy, for example retail clothing stores, liquor stores, salons, beauty supplies stores, and the like,” cited Newbold. “While these business types continue to be necessary within the community, we want to encourage entrepreneurs to be creative and think innovatively. By this, I am referring to adding value in a new way; perhaps within some of the traditional business concepts by way of enhanced customer experiences, technology integration, etc.  It’s time to break the traditional mold,” he continued. 

Port executives say they are excited about the BDW initiative and upcoming training. “Creating a rich and diverse SME sector is a key component in moving the local economy forward. The BDW initiative, supported by the upcoming Business Innovation & e-Commerce workshop, will provide attendees with valuable information, as well as deliver the relevant, practical and engaging content, participants of previous events have come to expect,” Rolle concluded.


The Hawksbill Creek Agreement (HCA) gave GBPA responsibility for the development, administration and management, and provision of services within an area called the 'Port Area' (230 sq. miles). GBPA was mandated by this Agreement to build a deep water harbour, an industrial community and required infrastructure for the City.



GBPA has achieved an astonishing amount since its inception in 1955.  When first created it was a Grand Bahamian business conglomerate charged not only with land and commercial development but also with all the regulatory and administrative functions of the Freeport/Lucaya.



Firstly, I wish to thank Joan Albury and the Counsellors for this platform enabling us to share with the Grand Bahama community, the outlook for our island! 2015 marks the 60th year of the birth of Freeport and the Hawksbill Creek Agreement; 60 years of a partnership between The Government of The Bahamas and The Grand Bahama Port Authority. I'm here to raise hopes for 2015 and to lay a few popular myths to rest - For those who don't know me, I am Sarah St George.