Freeport, Grand Bahama – Leveraging “Opportunities for Growth ” and how The Bahamas as an investment jurisdiction, can realize the opportunities that international business and commerce presents, was a focus of panel discussions at the 2017 International Business & Finance Summit, held at the Grand Lucayan Resort, this past Friday.
The 3-day annual event is hosted by the Bahamas Financial Services Board (BSFB), and is the premier platform for bringing together the nation’s leading stakeholders in the financial services industry to discuss and define the value of services to be delivered to clients choosing to conduct business in the jurisdiction.
Representing The Grand Bahama Port Authority, Limited (GBPA) was Derek Newbold, Sr. Manager of Business Development for GBPA and Invest Grand Bahama, accompanied by Mr. Edison Sumner, Chief Executive Officer and Director of the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation (BCCECF).
Addressing matters critical to the country’s global rankings for ease of doing business, as well as making the country a more competitive jurisdiction for attracting FDI, Newbold provided input from a GBPA perspective.
“With regard to making The Bahamas a more business friendly environment, several years ago GBPA introduced a Business Concierge Service to assist new investors, both foreign and domestic. The program provides assistance from the application process all the way through to ground breaking or commencement of operation.” He explained. “Further, once you’ve opened your business, our business retention program then kicks in where we conduct regular health-checkups to ensure that we are doing everything we can to help your business become sustainable and grow.” He added.
Newbold went on to share of GBPA’s recent awards captured in The Financial Times Global Free Zones competition.
“In 2010, GBPA entered Freeport into a Global Free Trade Zone Competition to gauge how we compared to competing Free Zones. We did not fare well in that competition but we used that experience as a learning opportunity,” commented Newbold. “However, after making a number of radical changes we decided to reenter Freeport into The Financial Times’ Global Free Zone competition in February of 2016. This time we won top awards in 4 Categories, including the best FTZ overall in LATAM and The Caribbean for SMEs. Freeport is now in a much better position to confidently move forward with its promotional and investment attraction efforts.”
GBPA Group President, Ian Rolle expressed that he is pleased with the efforts of his team and the progress GBPA continues to make, as it relates to positively reshaping the investor experience.
“The entire GBPA team is excited about the FDI Free Zone award; it is a great accomplishment and confirms that we are moving in the right direction, with respect to our initiatives and investor friendly programs,” stated Rolle. “Further, it has also helped to define our strategies for critical next steps for attracting FDI, such as aligning local education and training programs with the vision and goals of our Investment Promotion/Attraction efforts. This way, we are positioning our workforce, local businesses, etc. to capitalize on the types of industries we are targeting for economic growth” Rolle concluded.