Island tour

Access Accelerator continues island tour across the country – Eye Witness News

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – A team from the Access Accelerator Small Business Development Center (Access Accelerator) recently visited Eleuthera, having previously visited Exuma and Grand Bahama as part of a sustained effort to ensure that Family Island entrepreneurs benefit from access and opportunities that the agency provides. .

The team included Access Accelerator managers and members of the leadership team, and the visit allowed them to verify customers, assess the business climate on the islands, and connect with organizations that support business communities to create or strengthen partnerships that will provide additional support and opportunities for business success.

Access Accelerator is headquartered in New Providence with offices in Grand Bahama, Abaco, Eleuthera, Long Island and Andros. However, to ensure that clients, team members and partners of Family Islands feel the full support of the organization, island tours have been designed and are executed.

Erica Hanna holding a pair of custom-designed shoes at her Steppin Out store in Grand Bahama.

Most Access Accelerator tours consist primarily of two important elements: client visits and courtesy calls to local government, partners and potential partners. In some cases, the organization also participates in local community events such as town hall meetings hosted by local officials and information events hosted by the organization.

Nicholas Higgs, Chief Operating Officer and Director of Access Accelerator, described the visits as the human connection between Access Accelerator and its customers across the country.

Higgs said: “Our Executive Director, Davinia Bain, found that while we were working hard in Nassau to provide customers with the help they needed, there was a gap in the people side of the organization that many residents of New Providence entertained.

“The organization began touring just before the COVID-19 pandemic caused travel to stop nationwide. As we have transitioned to a fully digital mode of operation, it has further reinforced the need to solidify the human connection between the organization and the customers residing on the Family Islands.

He continued, “It’s important to us that our customers understand and appreciate that there are real people out there helping them achieve their dreams. We are as invested in the success of these companies as the customers. Through our visits, clients not only meet their advocates, but also department heads, so there is no question whether a client’s problem is properly explained to managers, as they can communicate with these. support directly.

Higgs added, “Officials also have a better understanding of the culture of this island because the way Bahamians operate is a little different on each island, so it’s important to have an appreciation of that when we consider ways to ‘to help. Customers also appreciate the ability to show and introduce us to their products and services in real time. »

Access Accelerator Executive Director Davinia Bain addresses attendees of the Exuma City Meeting hosted by Chester Cooper, Deputy Prime Minister, Member of Parliament for Exuma and Ragged Island and Minister of Tourism, Investment and Air Force.

The Eleuthera tour featured the unique Eleuthera Business Hub, a coworking space for businesses in southern Eleuthera created through a partnership with Disney, Eleuthera Chamber of Commerce, Access Accelerator and others like-minded private entities. The Eleuthera Business Center was the location of a networking event hosted by the organization for partners and customers and will be the location of the Access Accelerator office led by Anya Ferguson.

During the visit, the Access Accelerator was able to participate in the town hall for voters organized by the MP for Central and South Eleuthera and Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Island Family Affairs, l Honorable Clay Sweeting. Higgs explained how the organization can help local entrepreneurs and answered questions from those in attendance and participating virtually.

The trip included tours of the One Eleuthera Foundation campus and farm and courtesy visits to the Eleuthera Chamber of Commerce and Local Council which took place at the Eleuthera Business Centre.

During their visit to the One Eleuthera Foundation, the delegation learned about the training courses provided by the foundation, got to see firsthand how the foundation is innovating in technology in the field of agriculture and discussed ways by which the two entities can associate, in particular in the field of training.

The Access Accelerator team has also visited clients such as Food Post, which specializes in growing herbs and chickens using a closed-loop farming method; Uncle Tommy’s Bakery, which offers homemade baked goods such as breads, cakes and cookies; Sentry Shield Security and Locksmith, the island’s only locksmith business run by the island’s only female locksmith. The Access Accelerator team was able to view the equipment and items purchased with the organization’s funding while assessing current and future customer needs.

Richard Johnson of Food Post showcased the chickens on the farm and the expansion of their living and feeding area with funding from the Fishing and Farming Grant.

Thomas Albury outside his bakery in North Eleuthera.

Thomas Albury, owner of Uncle Tommy’s Bakery, explained how the industrial oven purchased through the self-sustaining grant now allows him to bake twice as much baked goods as he was able to bake in his small oven. Michaela Graham-Wells of Sentry Shield Security and Locksmith Co. showed the team around the space she was able to furnish and turn into a store for her business with financial assistance from the flagship Access Accelerator program.

The Access Accelerator’s Island Tour will then visit the islands of Abaco and Long Island.