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Local Businesses Ready to Embrace e-Commerce

The question as to whether Grand Bahama businesses are ready to embrace e-Commerce was answered with a resounding yes on Thursday June 8th, when scores of Licensees and aspiring entrepreneurs attended the Business Innovation and e-Commerce Boot Camp. The 1-day event hosted by the Grand Bahama Port Authority, Limited (GBPA), and its Invest Grand Bahama Small Business Bureau (IGBSBB), brought together more than 200 participants and local businesses.

Reflecting on the event’s impact, Ian Rolle, President of GBPA said, “We were indeed impressed by the turnout of local businesses for this event. I believe it clearly demonstrates that the business community is ready to embrace the use of e-commerce.  And, although we are a small community, local merchants are quite capable of offering their goods and services within the global marketplace. Additionally, we sought to inspire new ideas, and encourage innovation within the SME sector, with presentations by Shopify and AeroFarms.” Rolle added.

The diverse group of businesses represented allowed individuals ample opportunities for networking and 1-on-1 interaction with both local and international presenters.

Nicola Kelly, Creative Ideas Officer of Nikki’s Trinkets, understands the importance of driving business success through e-commerce.  She says “Entrepreneurship is not for small minds, the lazy or quitters.  It’s for the go getters who fight for their success; fueled by faith and a belief that their dream will happen with guidance and support.”  Kelly has been working to create her own website with Shopify. She now feels encouraged; having a greater appreciation for what is required to position her business for e-commerce success.  “I know I have a great product made here in The Bahamas and e-Commerce is the best way to get my treasures around the world.  I am motivated to spread love and joy, one authentically made Bahamian craft at a time.” 

READY FOR E-COMMERCE: Scores of Licensees and aspiring entrepreneurs attended the Business Innovation and e-Commerce Boot Camp, hosted by the Grand Bahama Port Authority, Limited (GBPA), and its Invest Grand Bahama Small Business Bureau (IGBSBB). Pictured is Miss Sheena Brady of Shopify, presenting on the benefits of e-Commerce.

Another local business owner, Marvin Johnson, President of Place Builders and Coastal Supplies and Services highlighted that he has consistently attended the IGBSBB training events because each time he learns something new.  Johnson explained, “The sessions are very informative, and the fact that we as Licensees of GBPA can experience this level of professional development initiatives at home, is a true testament to the value of a GBPA business license.” These sessions are also good because they provide continued motivation to develop and strengthen the online presence of my businesses and thereby increase our ability to attract more customers.”

Sr. Manager of Business Development for GBPA and Invest Grand Bahama, Derek Newbold, says he remains optimistic that through providing local business owners with skills to compete globally, GBPA continues to help strengthen business sustainability among the island’s SME sector.  He shared, “Local businesses are enthusiastic about global opportunities through e-commerce. That said, our efforts are designed to reveal what is possible both locally and abroad. As the entity responsible for business licensing within Freeport, we will continue to introduce meaningful and impactful training initiatives, so that Grand Bahama remains the ideal destination not only for foreign investment; but one that allows domestic investors to diversify, innovate and grow their businesses.”


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.