Moxey outlines plans for Innovate242 Incubator in Grand Bahama during 2024-2025 Budget Debate contribution

The content originally appeared on: ZNS BAHAMAS News
Innovate242 – Minister for Grand Bahama, the Hon. Ginger Moxey unveiled conceptual designs for the proposed Innovate242 Incubator for Grand Bahama during her contribution to the 2024-2025 Budget Debate in the House of Assembly on June 5, 2024.

Minister for Grand Bahama, the Hon. Ginger Moxey unveiled the government’s plan to execute a number of projects to fuel the economy in Grand Bahama, chief among them, the Innovate242 Incubator which is expected to be completed by the end of 2024.

The renderings of the proposed undertaking were rolled out in Parliament on June 5, 2024 during her contribution to the 2024-2025 Budget Debate.

“I am delighted, I am excited and I am proud to say that the structure known as the Royal Palm Resort on The Mall Drive, Freeport, will soon become home of the Innovate242 Incubator on Grand Bahama Island,” she said.

Minister Moxey serves as co-chair of the Innovate242 Cabinet Subcommittee which was designed to establish The Bahamas as the center of innovation for the Caribbean, focused on the four pillars of digital nomads, tech campuses, incubators and an innovation fund.

“Of the four pillars, because of the immediate impact that it will have on empowering Bahamian entrepreneurs, the incubators have been made top priority. In the first instance, the islands of New Providence, Grand Bahama and Exuma have been identified for Incubators.  The second phase will include the islands of Cat Island, Eleuthera and Andros,” she said.

Minister Moxey revealed that the Incubator will serve as a creative business center to cater to entrepreneurs as a ‘one-stop-shop” for business development from concept to launch.  

The Incubator, which will be spearheaded by the Tourism Development Corporation in collaboration with the Ministry for Grand Bahama, will include representation from organizations like the Bahamas Development Bank, Small Business Development Center, Inland Revenue, Bahamas Invest, Licensing Department of Grand Bahama Port Authority, Invest Grand Bahama, the Bahamas Trade Commission; a creative producer, and a technology-based provider.

“The Incubator will also house the center for sustainability, to create an ecosystem for organizations, both international and local, that focus on research and development in innovation, climate change, sustainability, inclusiveness, and to converge and collaborate to create sustainable master plans for each island, with the capacity to expand to the rest of the region,” she said.

She also revealed plans to launch the Young Innovators Club via Innovate242 designed to inspire innovation among the youth, while encouraging them to become involved in the sustained growth and development of The Bahamas.  

“The Innovate242 Incubator will be utilized as a space for the young innovators where their creative juices can follow,” Minister Moxey added.

“The focus areas of the Club will include themes of empowerment of the Bahamian people; sustainable development goals, the creation and promotion of Bahamian products, boat building competition, and the innovation and green technology competitions.”

While pointing out that there are visible signs of progress in Grand Bahama, Minister Moxey said there are more to come and she echoed the announcement made by Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Hon. Philip Davis on the reopening of West Sunrise Highway, the thoroughfare between the International Bazaar and the old Royal Oasis Resort, which was closed off by the then resort owner.

“The people of Grand Bahama have advocated from then to now for the reopening of the road; and in 2017 the previous PLP administration made some progress, so immediately upon coming to office, we reignited the process and here we are today,” she said.

The government also agreed to acquire the property that the International Bazaar and Royal Oasis Tower and Casino sits on for a development which the minister said will revitalize the area and stimulate economic activity for the benefit of the Bahamian people, for less than $4 million.

That project includes the demolition and beautification of the property to make way for a world-class tourist attraction, the Afro-Caribbean Marketplace, to be funded by the Africa Export Import Bank, and will provide entrepreneurial opportunities for Bahamians, particularly in the creative industry.

By LEDEDRA MARCHE/Bahamas Information Services