BSBDC has a cash reserve of $1.5m – The Royal Gazette | Bermuda News, Business, Sports, Events, & Community

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BSBDC has a cash reserve of $1.5m

A publicly-funded not-for-profit organisation aimed at helping Bermuda's small business owners is sitting on $1.5 million in cash reserves.The Royal Gazette: “This will not impact their work as they have cash reserves virtually equivalent to the cut ($1.5 million cash reserves) that they will use to continue their work during the next fiscal year.

And, according to Trade Minister Kim Wilson, the surplus money should ensure Bermuda Small Business Development Corporation's work isn't affected despite its grant being slashed by almost 80 percent in the coming fiscal year.

BSBDC is allocated just $500,000 in the 2011/12 Budget, compared to $2.44 million in 2010/11, when it was still the responsibility of the Ministry of Finance.

Senator Wilson, whose Trade, Economy and Industry Ministry now gives out the grant, told

“As anticipated, there will be some financial reductions on initiatives, but staffing levels will be retained and we currently are exploring partnerships with other agencies and departments in order to advance the remit of BSBDC.

“It will still be business as usual for the BSBDC. None of the existing programmes or services will be cut in any meaningful way; those programmes that would likely be affected were those that had not been introduced as yet.”

She added: “Belt tightening notwithstanding, the kinds of reductions anticipated should not be apparent to the public.”

BSBDC, which is based on Church Street, describes itself on its website as a joint venture between Bermuda's banks and Government whose key objective is “to assist the development of a strong, well-managed and prosperous small business sector in Bermuda by providing existing and potential small business owners with a broad range of business advice and financial assistance”.

Erica Smith, director of BSBDC's Economic Empowerment Zone Agency, said last week the grant reduction came as a shock.

She said the organisation had been particularly busy in the last two months helping small businesses struggling in the economic crisis.

It wasn't possible to reach her or BSBDC general manager Lucretia Ming yesterday to find out why the $1.5 million went unspent this current financial year.

One businessman, who asked not be named, said: “I don't understand the rationale behind not spending it. Everybody is starting small businesses because they can't get a job. They need them [the corporation] more than ever.

“The numbers should be out there and they should explain what their fiscal management policies are. They just have no excuses.”

Sen Wilson told a meeting of local construction firms yesterday: “Bermuda Small Business Development Corporation continues its work to provide a series of small projects to graduates of its incubator programme and will continue to do so until these funds are exhausted.”

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Published March 01, 2011 at 1:00 am (Updated March 01, 2011 at 8:47 am)

BSBDC has a cash reserve of $1.5m

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