NASSAU, The Bahamas, Thursday February 8, 2018 – The Cabinet of The Bahamas has approved the launch of a Small Business Development Centre later this year.
Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis says the initiative, one of several to help stimulate business ownership and Bahamian enterprise, will be spearheaded by the Government, in conjunction with the University of The Bahamas and The Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers’ Confederation with support from the Organization of American States (OAS).
“This Centre will provide a resource for all Bahamians to receive advisory and technical support when seeking to open a business or expand their operations,” he said.
“The Centre will steer entrepreneurs to available funding opportunities through government or private means. It will also assist business owners in navigating the regulatory and tax registration requirements for a new business.” The announcement came on the heels of the Prime Minister’s disclosure that his administration has committed to investing US$25 million over the next five years to help develop micro-small-medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in The Bahamas.
Funding for the project will amount to US$5 million per year for the next five years and will be funded through the sale of Government-owned shares in Aliv and the Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC).
Prime Minister said the “ambitious initiative” will help to stimulate the economy while boosting growth and employment and will also provide specific support for entrepreneurship and MSMEs development within marginalized groups, especially poorer communities and youth organizations. This will include organizations that participate in the Over-the-Hill Community Development Partnership Initiative.
The Prime Minister also announced that the Government of The Bahamas will, this year, waive the business licence fees for new businesses in order to encourage business development and small business enterprise. The Government will also waive business license fees for businesses with earnings of under US$100,000 “to help with economic relief for small businesses.”
The Government also proposes to establish an SME (small and medium-sized enterprises) Tax Help Desk to provide assistance to SMEs on tax matters including the preparation and filing of Value Added Tax (VAT) Returns and invoice formatting, etc.