What to expect from the bank when youre starting up in business
Many potential entrepreneurs and small business owners each year face the daunting task of starting out on their own.
Firstly they have to do their market research, draw up a business plan and then secure a loan or overdraft.
But often the bank is overlooked or is an underused resource which offers advice on a range of issues to help peoples make visions become a reality.
Butterfield Bank launched a campaign last month showcasing entrepreneurs who have benefited from the banks services, including Alexandra Mosher, owner of Alexandra Mosher Studio Jewellery, and Dr Royland and Shawna-Rika Samms of Atlantic Vision Care. Last years promotion featured Holger and Hayley Eiselt, owners of the Buzz Café chain with all of the entrepreneurs being featured on billboards across the Island.
The aim of the campaign has been to inspire and encourage people to follow their lead through the help of the bank.
Taiwo Ogunyemi, vice-president of corporate banking at Butterfield Bank, said the bank was targeting small business owners and had been holding meetings and presentations in Hamilton and as far afield as St Georges and Somerset to let the public know about the services they have available.
We want to make people aware that Butterfield Bank is an approachable bank and we listen to our customers needs and especially in these economic times we have been encouraging businesses to come forward and discuss any issues they have or anything they want to know, he said.
Mr Ogunyemi was directly involved with the Buzz Café from the beginning and he said it was a delight to see its business plan come to fruition and for the chain to continue to grow. He also helped to provide the funding for Atlantic Vision Cares relocation into a bigger premises and said that both businesses had enjoyed good relationships with the bank which had been key to their success.
Given the current economic climate with a number of people being laid off and some with good redundancy packages, Mr Ogunyemi said that there were a variety of opportunities for would-be entrepreneurs to try something new such as e-commerce and sell to a truly global market as well as helping to bring foreign currency into Bermuda.
Teaming up with the Bermuda Small Business Development Corporation (BSBDC) to provide special mobilisation loans for local contractors like Solo Contracting, which renovated a beachfront residence at Jon Smiths Bay under a partnership scheme between Government and the BSBDCs construction incubator programme, the bank also offers preferential rates on loans to businesses in the North East Hamilton Economic Empowerment Zone.
Despite the number of mobilisation loans increasing over the past three to four years, Mr Ogunyemi said that there had been a rise in businesses looking to consolidate their debt or streamline their operations.
Florence Smith, assistant vice-president and product manager, merchant services, at Butterfield Bank, met up with Ms Mosher at Governments E-Monday initiative workshop for business owners and was helped her to set up her own website from the development to payment security stage.
Ms Smith said that online business was a growing industry with the advantage of low overheads such as rent for retail space and the ability to create your own site and set up payment facilities.
She said that the bank prided itself on its top customer service, innovative products and services, expertise and management, in addition to teamwork with other departments, which it had extended to the charitable sector through a competitively priced package on ecommerce products to help them be creative and raise funds online.
Ms Mosher, who she said has a real passion and attention to detail for her products, had benefited from business advice, financing, and wireless and web-based commerce solutions provided by the bank.
Butterfield has also used the campaign to recognise its service leaders Charmaine Matthew, Reuben Flood and Andrea Busby, who have consistently delivered a friendly and efficient service.
For more information contact Butterfield Banks business banking department on 295-1111, email businessbanking[AT]bm.butterfieldgroup.com or visit the website at www.butterfieldgroup.com
Look out for a series of profiles on that The Royal Gazette will be running on entrepreneurs featured in Butterfields campaign in the coming weeks.