The Bermuda Economic Development Corporation (BEDC) has officially opened its three Economic Empowerment Zone Incubator Hubs, “welcoming support, guidance, and information to those who have already established businesses and those who wish to get started on that journey”.
A spokesperson said: “The goal of establishing the Hubs is to provide a geographically attainable space for entrepreneurs to focus on building their businesses instead of focusing on the costs typically associated with renting a location and the associated infrastructure.
“BEDC has recently launched the fifth cohort of Enterprise Bermuda, our 12-month incubator program. Through this program, entrepreneurs get access to office space, programming, mentorship and more. Previously we could only support eight businesses housed in our main Church Street Office; with the opening of the Offices in each of the EEZs, we have been able to expand support to 28 entrepreneurs.
“They will be housed in each of our 4 locations during their tenure in Enterprise Bermuda. Ultimately, we hope that when individuals graduate from the Incubator, they will feel supported, will have learned something new, and will feel a sense of empowerment to become masters of their own destinies.
“The Enterprise Bermuda Hubs will facilitate opportunities and support success for Bermuda’s businesses in the respective areas. Being physically present in the EEZ is a tangible way to provide resources and skills in the community to assist with creating opportunities.
“In addition to the entrepreneurs having 24-hour access to the office space to operate their businesses, each office will be manned by the designated Micro Small & Medium Enterprise Officer for the Zone. Donte Hunt is the Officer for NE Hamilton, Ondreyah Rochester is the Officer for Somerset, and Dennis Carter is the Officer for St. George’s.”
Minister of Economy and Labour Jason Hayward attended the North East Hamilton Incubator Hub Open House, and said: “This Government is committed to establishing an area in Northeast Hamilton to support the development of tech businesses.
“Of the 14 companies housed in this office, five are tech related. Most importantly, by providing entrepreneurs with access to education, support, mentorship, real-life experiences, and now physical office space, Government, through the BEDC, directly contributes to developing a flourishing entrepreneurial culture in Bermuda.”
Raymond Lambert, Director of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise, said: “The process of getting these three incubator hubs online hasn’t been easy but the positive feedback that we have gotten from the community thus far has made it worthwhile. We can’t wait for the public to take advantage of these hubs as we aim to facilitate business growth, improve the economy, and regenerate these areas.”
The spokesperson added: “These locations are housed in previously unused buildings. There has been a lot of effort put into bringing the buildings back to life. The BEDC team made a concerted effort to ensure that the vendors used to complete the renovations were small businesses. So, the revitalization of these buildings also contributes to a holistic development approach.
“The Hubs were created to support entrepreneurs and stakeholders in the community, and BEDC utilized vendors that are entrepreneurs and stakeholders in the community to do the work.
“Enterprise Bermuda is an annual program and applications will open again in the summer of 2023. Interested entrepreneurs can log on to www.bedc.bm to express their interest. BEDC will contact all those who have expressed an interest once applications are opened.”