Small businesses urged to seize AC chance
Small businesses are being urged to thrive on the unprecedented opportunities afforded by the America’s Cup.
While big budgets may be required to become major official sponsors of the sailing spectacle, business leaders are encouraging groups such as traders and potential party hosts to find a way of getting involved.
The Bermuda Economic Development Corporation has been working with small businesses to help them capitalise both on the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Bermuda, which takes place this weekend, and the 35th America’s Cup in 2017.
Providing goods and services for the racing teams, vending at events villages and hosting parties are among the ideas put forward.
Companies are also able to negotiate licensing agreements to use official America’s Cup branding that would usually be restricted under the America’s Cup Act.
Rebecca Hanson, for example, gained permission to use official branding on her TABs Bermuda shorts designs, while Flanagan’s negotiated using an America’s Cup banner for one night only during the recent Harbour Nights event.
Erica Smith, executive director for BEDC, said a wealth of support and information is available locally.
“We advise that the first step is to go to the America’s Cup Business Connect website and register with them,” she said. “We have businesses who have taken advantage of that from retail all the way through to services.
“Earlier this year we negotiated a communal partnership agreement between BEDC, the Chamber of Commerce, America’s Cup, the America’s Cup Events Authority, ACBDA and the Bermuda Tourism Authority.
“They can register with us and then we become a hub of information. If there is a business opportunity, we send it out to our register and they are able to find out information about what opportunities come up. There have been hundreds of businesses who have registered their interest.”
Ms Smith said that all goods and services are welcome in order to make the best of the America’s Cup event for the team members, organisers, residents and visitors.
“Anything that will help to make the teams’ lives easier will be of help,” she said.
“The teams and their families are starting to move to the Island and they are going to need access to residential accommodation, services, transportation, laundry, housekeeping, education.
“There will also be opportunities in 2017 for applying for vendorships especially in the events village in Dockyard.
“I would encourage anyone interested in being involved in 2017 to go to the event village on Front Street this weekend to see what is on offer, to see what it will look like and feel like. Front Street will be a mini version of Dockyard in 2017.
“People who have an interest in the water or sailing. There will always be a need for the industry.”
The BEDC provides information and support for any businesses interested in getting involved.
“We help businesses to refine their submissions, advise on how to access financing, provide a listening ear and offer some tangible support and resources to help people bring business ideas to life.”
Jack Griffin, editor of independent newsletter Cup Experience, will be giving a breakfast presentation tomorrow morning to explain some options for small to medium-sized businesses.
Mr Griffin, who is not affiliated with the America’s Cup in any way, will describe ways for “leverage of the Cup” through the likes of media exposure; hospitality and business entertainment; licensing or co-branding; and customer and stakeholder engagement.
He says that businesses can “ride the slipstream” of the event without becoming a sponsor or licensee by using words such as “The Cup” or “The World Series” in its branding that are not one of the nine forbidden words outlined in the AC Act. Mr Griffin told The Royal Gazette: “For all budgets there is a way to do something very attractive that picks up on the America’s Cup theme. You can associate yourself with the event without infringing the rights of the official sponsors.”
Mr Griffin said one opportunity is for businesses to be a source of America’s Cup information for their employees, customers and stakeholders helping to drive traffic.
He has published a free report which is available online at www.cupexperience.com. His talk is at 8.30am in the Gardenia Room of The Fairmont Southampton Resort. Tickets are $50 and include breakfast. There will be a one-hour presentation followed by a Q&A session.