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Enterprise Bermuda Incubator

Enterprise Bermuda Incubator

Ministerial Statement

by

The Hon. Walter Roban, JP, MP

Acting Minister of Economic Development and Tourism

Friday, April 27th, 2018

 

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to report on an exceptional new measure taken to enhance the local entrepreneurial experience in Bermuda and provide our Island’s rising business owners with greater tools for success.

 

Earlier this month, the BEDC announced its latest example of how it was choosing to equip local start-ups and budding entrepreneurs with skills and resources to thrive in the 21st Century. As you may know, the BEDC was established on January 20, 1981, with the mission of inspiring, informing, supporting and growing new and existing Bermuda businesses. This is done through a host of educational programmes, seminars and workshops; mentoring initiatives; networking opportunities; financing and much more.

 

Over the last 37 years, the BEDC has assisted thousands of local Bermuda business owners and entrepreneurs – and today its passion for enhancing micro, small, and medium businesses is still very much alive and well.   The Enterprise Bermuda Incubator Programme is one such example of this.  Launched in February 2018, the programme is focused on walking participants through an in-depth nine-month development process, which ensures the entrepreneurs get beyond the idea stage and start to bring their businesses to fruition. This pilot initiative is being run with the winners of the tenth annual Rocket Pitch competition – six local entrepreneurs who proved their innovation at the Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) event, held on November 16, 2017.

 

They include:

  • Surlena Smith Pitch Green Winner with her all-natural deodorant brand, PondaPits;
  • Nakia Smith – Pitch Pink Winner whose Sip and Savor Bermuda food tours offers visitors the chance to eat and drink like locals;
  • Chris Phillips – Pitch Tech Winner whose mobile app, Dealio, alerts customers to the closest local deals;
  • Tracey Hayward – Pitch Town Winner whose online business, School Boxez, provides parents of children in middle and high school with school supplies;
  • Chaella (pronounce Chay-la) Bradshaw-Douglas – Youth Pitch Winner whose vending machine business, Good Chew, aims to provide homemade, healthy snack alternatives to school students; and
  • Cire’ (pronounced Sigh-Ree) Bean – Youth Pitch Runner Up whose online matching business, Pay-A-Kid, pairs young people between the ages of 13 and 18 with odd jobs.

 

Mr. Speaker, these six Bermuda talents have been taken through a detailed process of analyzing and refining their business idea, so they can best determine if it will work in – and beyond – the Bermuda market. Participants are provided with complimentary access to BEDC’s educational courses and programmes; free and subsidized office space; and personalized mentoring with financial advisor, Bruce Sharpe, of Sharpe Financial Services Ltd.

 

And that’s not all. The BEDC is also using its vast database of industry contacts to find participants pro-bono or subsidized services in areas such as marketing, accounting, legal support, and web development, which were all identified by the entrepreneurs in a recent needs assessment. Last, but not least, those taking part in the 2018 Enterprise Bermuda Incubator Programme will meet one-on-one with BEDC’s Officers on a biweekly basis to provide updates and receive added encouragement and support.

 

The idea for this programme was first sparked several years ago. It was determined entrepreneurs needed more support to get beyond the idea stage and bring their business solutions to reality. The BEDC believes this pilot Incubator Programme will give individuals all the resources they need to become successful entrepreneurs – and so far the results have been very promising, with participants being very involved and engaged in the learning and development process.

 

Mr. Speaker, a few weeks ago these six entrepreneurs were invited to take part in the Global Entrepreneurship Congress (GEC) in Istanbul, Turkey from Sunday (April 15 to Thursday, April 19), thanks to sponsorship from BEDC. They were given unparalleled access to some of the brightest minds in the global entrepreneurial ecosystem through GEC.

 

Each year, the Congress gathers together thousands of entrepreneurs, investors, researchers, policymakers and other startup champions from more than 170 countries to identify new ways of launching and scaling their business ventures. The local entrepreneurs soaked up every opportunity last week to network, make connections, gain insights and learn about new research.

 

The objective was that by including them in on this international event they would leave the Congress ready to renew their business ideas and bring new skills and strategies for success back to Bermuda. And I am proud to say that mission has been accomplished.  One of the youngest participants, 17-year-old Chaella (pronounced Chay-la) Bradshaw-Douglas, said the experience had expanded her mind and inspired her to reach for the stars with her own business aspirations. Local teacher Tracy Hayward commented that the expertise and information shared at the GEC was mind-blowing. She said she was amazed to see so many different countries from around the world represented at this one event.

 

Mr. Speaker, Incubator participant, Mrs. Surlena Smith, the Pitch GREEN winner, was given the chance to represent Bermuda in the Global Future Agro Challenge a few days prior to the Congress in Turkey. She was able to share her business pitch for her all-natural deodorant product PondaPits alongside other environmental innovations from around the globe.  She described the experience at GEC as being “exceptional”. And said being a part of the Future Agro Challenge and part of the Bermudian consortium to attend the GEC was one of the most exceptional opportunities of her entrepreneurial journey so far. It provided her with an avenue to represent Bermuda on a global stage and introduce PondaPits to the world. She described this as a dream come true.

 

The GEC experience is just the start of the road for these local startups and budding entrepreneurs. The goal moving forward with the Enterprise Bermuda Incubator Programme is to make it available to new start-up business owners ready to take their operations to the next level. The next cohort of the scheme will start in January 2019. Applications with criteria for selection will be made available online, and for pick-up at the BEDC’s office in Sofia House, located at #48 Church Street, Hamilton, from September 1, 2018 until November 1, 2018.

 

In closing Mr. Speaker, I believe recognition is due to the BEDC for launching this Enterprise Bermuda Incubator Programme. I believe this aligns with Government’s commitment to support local entrepreneurship and provide small business owners with greater access to opportunities.

 

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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Latest News:

Eight entrepreneurs in BEDC incubator

Eight entrepreneurs have been accepted into the 12-month Enterprise Bermuda Incubator programme operated by the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation.

Participants will be housed in the BEDC offices for the duration of the programme during which time they will take part in an intensive development process to ensure that they get beyond the idea stage and start to take their businesses to fruition.

Click here to read the full article on RG

REMARKS
PREMIER THE HON. DAVID BURT, JP, MP
BEDC’s Enterprise Bermuda Incubator Programme – 2nd Cohort
Friday, April 5th, 2019
10:30 am

Good morning.

It is my pleasure as the Premier and Minister responsible for the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation, to acknowledge the successful start of the 2nd cohort of the Enterprise Bermuda Incubator Programme.

Several years ago, it was determined that there was a need for a programme to help entrepreneurs get beyond the idea stage and bring their business solutions to fruition.

As a result, the BEDC launched the Enterprise Bermuda Incubator in February 2018 to provide participants with an opportunity to take part in an intensive development process whereby they can hone their business ideas and implement strategies for success. Due to the success of the pilot, it has now become a primary part of the BEDC’s service offering.

The 12-month programme is focused on walking participants through an in-depth development process, which ensures the entrepreneurs get beyond the idea stage and start to bring their businesses to fruition.

As some of you may know, the BEDC was established on January 20, 1981, with the mission of inspiring, informing, supporting and growing new and existing Bermuda businesses. This is done through a host of educational programmes, seminars and workshops; mentoring initiatives; networking opportunities, financing and much more.

And, over the last 37 years, the BEDC has assisted thousands of local Bermuda business owners and entrepreneurs – and today its passion for enhancing micro, small and medium sized businesses on the Island burns just as bright.

The Enterprise Bermuda Incubator Programme is the most recent example of how the BEDC is equipping local business owners and budding entrepreneurs with the tools to succeed in the 21st Century.

BEDC works with the entrepreneurs through the process of developing and honing their business idea so they can best determine if it will work in Bermuda’s competitive marketplace.

They provide participants with complimentary access to BEDC’s educational courses and programmes; provide them with free or subsidized office space; as well as personalized mentoring with local mentors including Bruce Sharpe, Chris Maybury, Felicia Rickards, David Lovell, Tyler Owen, Jvon Furbert, Kyle James, Tulani Bulford, Tee Ogunyemi, Kim Perdikou, Delight Morris and Kyle Masters.

These individuals are entrepreneurs and industry experts in their own right and have been gracious enough to share some of their expertise and knowledge to support the Incubator participants.

In addition to mentor support, BEDC also uses its vast database of industry contacts to find participants pro-bono or subsidized services in areas such as marketing, accounting, legal support and web development, which were all identified by entrepreneurs in a recent needs assessment.

Those taking part in the 2019 Enterprise Bermuda Incubator Programme will meet one-on-one with BEDC’s Officers on a biweekly basis to provide updates and receive added encouragement and support.

BEDC continues to answer the call on behalf of local entrepreneurs.  We recognize that the work that the organization has been doing for the last 30 years has been a catalyst for other organisations to develop similar programmes with the shared goal of developing a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem.

As an entrepreneur at heart, I understand the need for this type of support and congratulate BEDC for taking the lead in developing the Enterprise Bermuda Incubator Programme.

This Government supports local entrepreneurship and recognizes that programmes like the Enterprise Bermuda Incubator is an example of our commitment to support the development of local entrepreneurs and an innovative and entrepreneurial ecosystem.

At this time, I will turn it over to the Executive Director, Erica Smith, of the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation, who will introduce you to the current participants.

Thank you.

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APPLICATIONS ARE NOW OPEN FOR THE SECOND COHORT OF THE BEDC’S ENTERPRISE BERMUDA INCUBATOR

Hamilton, Bermuda 17 December 2018 – Are you a start-up seeking to accelerate the growth of your business in its early years?  Are you an early stage entrepreneur looking for a nurturing environment to validate your business idea? If so, then submit your application for the second cohort of the Enterprise Bermuda Incubator.  This incubator programme started by the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation (BEDC) is a twelve-month incubation programme to support local entrepreneurs and the development of their businesses.

 

The Enterprise Bermuda Incubator was launched in February 2018 with a pilot cohort of 6 budding entrepreneurs.   The pilot incubator programme was focused on walking participants through an in-depth nine-month development process, which ensured the entrepreneurs get beyond the idea stage and start to bring their businesses to fruition. The pilot initiative was run with the winners of the tenth annual Rocket Pitch competition that was held for Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW), on November 16, 2017.  The six entrepreneurs completed the pilot programme and have a better understanding of what is required to progress their respective businesses.  In short, the pilot was a success.

 

Surlena Smith, owner of PondaPits and one of the pilot cohort participants, remarked that since being enrolled in the Incubator “Everything has changed about my business.”  She continued, that “…my business is now more professional, my products are now distributed in 4 locations across the Island and growing, and PondaPits has gone from an idea to an actual business which is growing in an unexpected direction!”

 

The initial cohort was started as a nine-month programme, however feedback from the participants indicated that a twelve-month programme would be more beneficial.  As a result, the second cohort will have the benefit of being in the incubator for an additional three-months.

 

The second cohort of the Enterprise Bermuda Incubator will start on Monday January 28th, 2019.  Applications are available online at www.bedc.bm, and for pick-up at the BEDC’s office in Sofia House, located at #48 Church Street, Hamilton.  Applications will close on Friday January 11th, 2019. Interviews of short-listed applicants will take place during the week of January 14th, 2019.

 

Eight (8) successful applicants will receive assistance with analyzing and refining their business idea, so they can best determine if it will work in – and beyond – the Bermuda market. Participants are provided with complimentary access to BEDC’s educational courses and programmes; free and subsidized office space; an assigned Business Development Officer and personalized mentoring with industry experts, such as has been provided with financial advisor, Bruce Sharpe, of Sharpe Financial Services Ltd. In addition, successful applicants will receive access to pro-bono or subsidized services in areas such as marketing, accounting, legal support, and web development.

Click here for full list of participants