Hurricane Season Begins Today, But Bacardi Supports Recovery Year Round
June 1 marks the official start of hurricane season and serves as a reminder that the recovery after a storm is a long journey. One that family-owned Bacardi Limited continues to support year round through its collaboration with global humanitarian organization Mercy Corps.
In the Bahamas, which was devasted by Hurricane Dorian in 2019, ongoing efforts to help small and medium businesses rebuild continue through the Restoring Industry, Sustaining Employment (RISE) Grant Programme. To date, more than $724,000 in grants has been provided to 76 local businesses through this partnership initiative implemented by The Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA) and Mercy Corps with funding support from Bacardi Limited, along with the American Red Cross.
Even with new challenges put forward by COVID-19, RISE continued to review applications during shutdowns and, last month, restarted the grant award process in time for the reopening of the island. RISE awards recovery grants of up to $10K to qualifying businesses on Grand Bahama affected by Hurricane Dorian.
The positive effects of the grant are already being felt across the small business community in Grand Bahama. Grant recipient Allison McBride, a business owner in the Downtown area, who suffered nearly 4 feet of floodwater in her store, expressed her appreciation for the grant. “After Hurricane Dorian, our home, cars, and business were devastated. We were encouraged to apply to many business entities for assistance. Thankfully, the RISE team awarded us a much-needed grant that would assist with the purchase of machines, inventory and payment towards the arrears on our rent. Dynasti Graphix and the Copy Center Team would like to express our thanks and appreciation to all of the RISE partners for their support. “
“Bacardi is proud to support the ongoing recovery of Grand Bahama and the small businesses that are so critical to the island’s economy and people’s well-being,” said Rick Wilson, SVP of Corporate Responsibility for Bacardi. “As a family-owned business, we are heartened and encouraged by the personal stories of RISE grant recipients who are on the road to rebounding from such a challenging chapter in their lives.”
Through the RISE programme, recipient businesses received Finance, Marketing, and Disaster Preparedness and Recovery training to enhance necessary business skills. The program also offered guidance on the development of mitigation strategies to reduce the impact of future disasters such as the recent storm.
“We know that these small and medium-sized businesses are the backbone of the island’s economy and the support we provide them now is critical to their ability to prepare for and withstand future disasters,” says Paula Miller, Mercy Corps Country Director for The Bahamas.
Similar small business recovery programs launched thanks to Bacardi and Mercy Corps in the US Virgin Island and Sint Maarten, both of which were also impacted by Hurricane Dorian. Bacardi and Mercy Corps have been working together on long-term disaster recovery following a $3M pledge by Bacardi in 2017 a Hurricanes Irma and Maria devasted Puerto Rico and Caribbean Islands.