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GBPA Small Business Fair A Big Success

Local business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs were challenged to take their businesses and ideas to the next level, during a Small Business Fair and Training Workshop, hosted by The Grand Bahama Port Authority, Limited (GBPA) and the Invest Grand Bahama Small Business Bureau (IGBSBB), last Thursday, 26th January at the Pelican Bay Resort.

The 1-day event featured a platform of dynamic presenters, addressing issues vital to the start-up, growth and innovation stages of business. Topics included ‘Crowdfunding – An Alternative Method of Raising Capital – presented by Indiegogo; ‘Crafting Successful sales and marketing strategies – presented by VKR Insights’, and ‘smart banking for small and medium enterprises (SME) – presented by Scotiabank. 

According to Ian Rolle, President of GBPA, the event is being hailed as a successful initiative. “We are extremely pleased with the outcome of the Small Business Fair. Firstly, it was significantly oversubscribed. Additionally, the speakers were all excellent, not only providing relevant and meaningful content, but also connecting it to innovative ideas and real life examples of how each concept can and has produced successful business ventures.” Rolle stated. 

“Today was a tremendous success because our presenters empowered Licencees to think strategically about how to improve their sales and marketing strategies and access new funding sources for success.”

Opening presenter, Valdez K. Russell, principal of VKR Insights, a communications firm, reminded entrepreneurs about the importance of developing an effective sales and marketing strategy.  Russell urged participants to remain focused on success.  “Focus on the market, the product and measurable goals to build customer loyalty and attract new customers.  Once you are focused, your clients will reward you by coming back again and again to support your business.”  

PACKED TO CAPACITY: More than 140, GBPA Licencees, business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs participated at the recent Diversify.Innovate.Grow Small Business Fair, recently held at the Pelican Bay Resort. Pictured is Indiegogo Senior Strategist, Alana Jesse, presenting on best practices in crowdfunding and how to launch, manage and execute successful crowdfunding campaigns through Indiegogo.

LaShawn Dames, Business Services Manager for GBPA/IGBSBB, noted that the Bureau’s theme for 2017: Diversify.Innovate.Grow (DIG) was perfectly captured during each session. “The Small Business Fair & Training Workshop is IGBSBB’s first event for the year; it was exceptionally well received by the business community. Every initiative that we undertake this year will serve to drive business innovation, encourage new and diverse ideas, and most importantly, provide incentives that fuel and encourage growth,” Dames commented. 

Participants were also introduced to best practices in crowdfunding and how to launch, manage and execute successful crowdfunding campaigns through Indiegogo.  Senior Strategist, Alana Jesse reviewed the importance of crowdfunding and presented participants with the relevant steps associated with the process and said “Indiegogo will support you as a partner so that you can build your audience, develop a campaign and create momentum in the marketplace for sales and success.”  

Sr. Manager of Business Development for GBPA and Invest Grand Bahama, Derek Newbold, previewed upcoming training and small business support opportunities for licensees.  He shared “The ongoing focus for Invest Grand Bahama is to provide our licensees with a rich array of opportunities to help them as they diversify, innovate and grow their business. We live in a world of limitless opportunities and without boundaries; the global marketplace is constantly changing and we must keep pace. In fact, we as business owners and entrepreneurs must often seek to position ourselves ‘ahead of the curve’ if we are to be and remain successful.” 

“We at GBPA are committed to digging into another extraordinary year of training and support for our licencees to help promote economic sustainability and entrepreneurial success.” Newbold added.


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.