Grand Bahama, The Bahamas – The Ministry for Grand Bahama hosted the West Grand Bahama Entrepreneurial Expo, February 1, 2024 as another means of empowering micro, small and medium-sized businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs in West Grand Bahama.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Investments and Aviation, the Hon. I. Chester Cooper, Minister for Grand Bahama, the Hon. Ginger Moxey, Parliamentary Secretary and Member of Parliament for West Grand Bahama the area, the Hon. Kingsley Smith, were in attendance along with representatives from the Ministry of Tourism, the Tourism Development Corporation of The Bahamas, Bahamas Development Bank, Inland Revenue, Small Businesses Development Centre and the Ministry of Agricultural and Marine Resources.
The aim of the forum, which was held at St. Mary Magdalene Parish Hall, was to stimulate economic growth in communities in the west.
It also afforded attendees quick in-person sessions with stakeholders in the industry and the opportunity to gain knowledge about accessing resources for the growth and sustainability of their business.
Deputy Prime Minister Cooper, in expressing his elation over the prospects of the Expo, said that the fastest way to create employment, wealth and opportunities is through entrepreneurship.
“Today’s initiative is not only the keeping of a promise, but it’s because we see such significant opportunity here in West Grand Bahama. I think you have all the pieces already for something magnificent,” he told westenders, while pointing out that they are the closest in The Bahamas in proximity to the United States.
He added that there is the opportunity to bring all of the pieces together and, with all of the stakeholders present, for there to be more than just a spark of entrepreneurial opportunity, but significant success.
“I have committed from the budget of the Tourism Development Corporation to ensure that we do what is necessary to get the West Grand Bahama Fisheries Cooperative organized, starting with a business plan that they can take to the Bahamas Development Bank that we can endorse. So today is the beginning of the delivery of that support,” Deputy Prime Minister Cooper said.
He also pledged 10 scholarships to cover the tuition of 10 residents of West Grand Bahama to attend the Bahamas Agricultural Marine Science Institute to become certified tour and fishing guides.
Minister Moxey pointed out that the Expo was also designed to provide a platform for the entrepreneurs to network and form partnerships with various government agencies and the private sector to create a support system that provides entrepreneurs the tools to succeed.
“Our Blueprint For Change pledges support for entrepreneurs, an incubation for new businesses and to provide unique opportunities for Bahamians by removing the bureaucracy that hinders small business growth,” she said.
Minister Moxey noted that one of her ministry’s goals in collaborating with the various agencies for the Expo was to establish a comprehensive data base of individuals interested in entrepreneurial opportunities in the west district.
She pointed out that the Expo is in line with several key mandates assigned to her ministry by Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Hon. Philip Davis as government remains focused on the future of Grand Bahama.
Parliamentary Secretary Smith noted that the collective presence of himself, Minister Moxey and Minister Cooper underscores the government’s commitment to the growth and prosperity of Grand Bahama.
Stressing that West End is steeped in history as a fishing village where traditions have been passed down through generations, Mr. Smith encouraged business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs to take full advantage of the opportunity, as it is a catalyst for growth and prosperity for the community in West Grand Bahama.