Grand Bahamian company becomes Access Accelerator's largest funded business

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Access Accelerator
February 25, 2020

Fowlco Marine and Logistics Management successfully accessed $500,000 in financial investments through the Access Accelerator Small Business Development Centre. This is the largest amount yet to be invested into an Access Accelerator client business.

Fowlco Ltd owners Glennett and Curtis Fowler started Fowlco Import Export, their first company, in 2010 on the island of Grand Bahama. In 2017, after becoming incorporated under Fowlco Ltd., they expanded their scope of work, creating Fowlco Marine and Logistics Management. The marine and industrial logistics management company offers a panoply of services related to the shipping and port agency sector including ship agency, logistics, trucking and extensive custom brokerage support. 

However, like a lot of businesses on Grand Bahama, Fowlco Marine and Logistics Management suffered major damage during the passing of Hurricane Dorian, which seriously impacted the company's operations. In need of financial assistance, the Fowlers turned to the Access Accelerator for help. 

Through social media, Glennett Fowler learned about the Hurricane Dorian Recovery Relief Program offered by the Access Accelerator. 

"After the passing of Hurricane Dorian, we had a major loss of our fleet and damages that were not covered with proper insurance," Fowler said. "Once we investigated more about the Access Accelerator program, it appeared to be of benefit to companies that were affected by the storm. To not shut down the operation while we figured out a way forward, we realized that the program was the only viable option." 

The Access Accelerator requested as much business documentation as possible from the company, and by simply providing basic business details, the Access Accelerator was able to issue a hurricane grant to Fowlco Marine and Logistics Management almost immediately. 

Fowler said, "Initially, it was apparent that a great deal of financial records and paperwork was needed to be engaged in the program. However, with basic information immediately after the storm, we received a $15,000 grant which allowed us to purchase a needed tool."

Deciding to seek additional funding through the program the Fowlers worked with Caline Newton, Access Accelerator advisor on Grand Bahama, to do the necessary work to access a larger financial investment. 

Fowler said, "We decided to pursue the greater aspect of the program. We received oversight and recommendations based on our business plan and financials to re-evaluate cost needed to run the company as well as putting in place needed SOPs (standard operating procedures) from our advisor Caline Newton." 

With hard work and advisement paying off, Fowlco Marine and Logistics Management successfully accessed $500,000 in investment capital through the Access Accelerator Hurricane Recovery Relief Program. It is the largest funding to date for the program, which began in 2018, and which has to date funded Bahamian businesses over $6,000,000 in its regular programming and $3,000,000 for its hurricane relief program. Glennett Fowler also takes the investment as a sign of hope. 

"Being funded allowed us to realize that with a solid business plan even in an uncertain time in Grand Bahama there is still hope and belief in Grand Bahama," Fowler said. 

"Also, it is motivation to continue to make progress and not to allow circumstances to define you. The funding allowed us to realize we are one step closer and that we have what it takes to be a staple in the community and The Bahamas." 

Fowler continued, "We plan on completing the repairs already began on our facility that was substantially damaged and replacing over 200K in loss and damaged equipment." 

Learning valuable lessons through experience and the Access Accelerator, Fowler believes that her company wouldn't have survived without the program. 

Fowler said, "The greatest lesson we learned through the program is maintaining an updated business plan, not cutting cost through necessary insurances. Insurance was in place but on a basic level. Planning for the unexpected can ensure the business is able to recover and continue.

"After ten years of business and many attempts at getting funding, Access Accelerator has proven to defy odds of what our impression of banking in The Bahamas for small businesses has been." 

Fowler continued, "The team they have in place and the support given during the entire process showed us it's better when someone is working on your side as an intermediary. They were able to navigate the process for us, and although it was quite a process, we would not have survived without the assistance of the Access Accelerator.

"I want to encourage other business owners who may have had or have humble beginnings to reach out to Access Accelerator and get the proper information on the program. It can truly be the chance to put your business on the path to success."

The Access Accelerator is the product of a tripartite arrangement between the Government, through the Ministry of Finance, University of The Bahamas (UB) and the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation (BCCEC). The Centre will work to guide the development, funding, growth, and evolution of Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises ("MSMEs") in The Bahamas.


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