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"Small Business, Big Stories”

"Small Business, Big Stories” is a heritage campaign coordinated and managed by THP for the grand opening of Access Accelerator, Small Business Development Centre (A2).

Cultural Heritage Management
Media Production
Research & Social Analysis
  • THP conducted historical research for a research project on small business development in The Bahamas
  • Organised a special event for the client’s launch week
  • Directed and produced a short documentary highlighting historic Bahamian businesses
  • Curated a “digital heritage trail” comprising a number of stories which were published on Ramble Bahamas, the peer-reviewed digital publication engine of “From Dat Time”: The Oral & Public History Institute of the University of The Bahamas
  • Curated a multimedia exhibit for viewing at the event.

Small Business Heritage Trail
Curated by The Heritage Partners & Tracey Thompson

Bahamian business has meant small business, for the most part, and has often meant family business. From barbers to fruit vendors, from dry goods merchants to funeral directors, from lawyers to farmers, from midwives to after-school tutors to shoe cobblers to fishermen, Bahamians across the islands have sought income in order to trade it for something else and so have been involved in doing business. The goods and services that they offered were basic ones rather than luxury ones, usually. They welcomed cash in exchange for their products and their services, but they welcomed barter too. The field of opportunity to enter into business and to stay there profitably was not flat, to be sure. Race mattered. So did social class. So did ethnic roots. Those factors shaped access to capital and with it the size to which a business could grow.

The field of opportunity had enclaves as well as slopes: much business activity took place in communities that were isolated from one another geographically or were segregated from one another racially. Any who braved this field faced basic challenges, like transportation and distribution in an archipelagic community. They faced alliances and cartels and monopolies that made it hard for them to hold their own. But in spite of differences in circumstance, what was common to Bahamian businesses of all stripes was an ethos of building one’s community. That meant offering goods and services which people needed. That meant offering wares on “trust”, or credit, to help sustain clients in their moments of need. That meant working collegially rather than ruthlessly with ‘competitors’ in the same industry. That meant making places of business places of meeting, to share community news and test political ideas. That meant giving employment to strangers not because their labour was needed but in order to help them or their families. For decade upon decade, Bahamian business has meant business enterprise for the sake of building one’s community.

Last updated: 
September 7, 2022
Ramble Bahamas