The College of The Bahamas Northern Bahamas Campus in East Grand Bahama is destined to become an incubator for entrepreneurship and innovation, while bolstering the industrial and maritime industries on Grand Bahama, President of The College of The Bahamas Dr. Rodney D. Smith shared recently.
When Dr. Smith addressed the Grand Bahama Business Outlook held at the Grand Lucayan Resort, he shared his vision for an autonomous and distinct college campus that operates as part of the proposed University of The Bahamas System. Through its academic programmes and initiatives, the campus would strengthen the Grand Bahama economy in key sectors.
President Smith asserted that the Northern Bahamas Campus will become the Centre of Excellence for maritime, industrial, manufacturing and entrepreneurial studies for the future University. It will also increase the island’s capacity for robust business development.
“Integral to the development of the Grand Bahama campus is the creation of a publicly and privately funded business incubator, incorporating two joint programmes – one for students majoring in Entrepreneurial Studies and one for community members wishing to learn how to write a business plan, balance revenues and expenses, and sustain successful businesses,” he said.
“This kind of incubator will help to facilitate the growth of new business in Grand Bahama and prepare students to embrace opportunities as entrepreneurs themselves throughout the country. It will become a birthplace of innovation.”
The College’s Northern Bahamas Campus has an enrollment of approximately 500 students. Nestled on land in East Grand Bahama – where the potential for residential, infrastructural and business development in the surrounding neighborhoods is great – College officials are solidifying partnerships for progress.
President Smith calls the campus an anchor, one that will propel the development and growth of the Grand Bahama community, while contributing significantly to the growth of the country. Like the Oakes Field Campus in New Providence, the campus in Grand Bahama is tapped for infrastructural expansion. It was be transformed from a commuter to residential campus with a new technology resource centre and library; a cafeteria with both self-service and traditional dining; a fully staffed health centre; study areas; and other amenities.
“Architectural designs are being completed for what will be the campus’ very first residential hall. This modern 21st century student residence will provide housing accommodation for approximately 55 students,” said President Smith who added that the Grand Bahama Port Authority has pledged $3 million towards the creation of new student residences.
“…We expect that this campus will become an anchor that will attract new growth and development to the surrounding area. We expect that this anchor will spark the development of new business opportunities as this College community, like a phoenix, begins to rise from the ground.”
According to President Smith, there is an immediate need for strategic partners, like the Grand Bahama Chamber of Commerce, to collaborate with The College to develop niche programmes. College officials are also encouraging other prospective partners from the hospitality, maritime, shipping, manufacturing and pharmaceutical sectors on the island to work with them on human capital development initiatives.
Under the proposed University of The Bahamas System, the institution will improve access to tertiary education throughout The Bahamas through distance education programmes.
“The University’s online learning programmes will offer the student an experience, rather than simply disseminating information through a computer. Students in Grand Bahama will be able to sit in a classroom and have a professor in Nassau or as far away as Vancouver, Canada, conduct their lecture. The online environment will be able to facilitate group work, so that a student in Long Island may be able to work with students in Exuma, Cat Island, or even a US state like Virginia,” Dr. Smith noted.
The collective impact of these and other strategies will benefit the country and the citizens of The Bahamas.