NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Roughly $32 million has been requested via the government’s Small Business Continuity Program, SBDC executive director Davinia Grant revealed yesterday. Grant told Eyewitness News this sum far exceeds its $20 million outlay. “We have about $32 million in requests and so we are definitely over the $25 million which is $20 million in loans and $5 million in grants,” Grant said. “We have about $5.5 million in approvals already and $1.2 million in disbursements. We have 563 completed applications, 63 have been approved. In total we have 1,120 completed applications.” The program which was launched last month is being offered through the Small Business Development Centre (SBDC), and was launched last week. It is designed to provide loans to small businesses, ranging from $5,000 to $300,000. Approved loans will have a payment grace period of four months. Grant said: “There are still a number of people who have to complete their applications. The completed applications represent about 2,600 full time staff members and 700 part time staff. It’s a significant amount of employees. We expect that in short order more disbursements will be done. We are trying to do our part. We also have some policy recommendations we will be putting forward very soon.” She noted that the SBDC is still working with SMEs that were impacted by Hurricane Dorian. Grant said: “We are still processing hurricane Dorian related SMEs that were impacted, in particular those that were already approved. Disbursements are still being processed. Obviously priority is being given to the companies who are allowed to operate or companies with purchases that take a long time to either be manufactured or delivered. “Clients of the SBDC are still receiving calls from their advisers. The program doesn’t stop it is just evolving and expanding at an exponential rate.” She also noted that next month the SBDC will be launching its online training module which will enable many persons who have been waiting to access the SBDC’s services to finally be able to do so.
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