BEDC plans more incubators
The Bermuda Economic Development Corporation is to foster entrepreneurism island-wide by offering incubator programmes in the island’s three economic empowerment zones.
The three new incubators will open in St George’s, Somerset and North Hamilton in January 2020, Erica Smith, executive director of the BEDC, said.
The incubators will replicate the Enterprise Bermuda model that is now operational at the BEDC’s Church Street, Hamilton office.
There, entrepreneurs are given office space and equipment, access to mentors and business advice. Eight entrepreneurs are enrolled in a 12-month programme that began in January.
When all four incubators are operational, Ms Smith said the BEDC would “collectively manage 40 entrepreneurs at any one time.
“We want to continue to help create an economic base in each of those three areas,” Ms Smith said. “We want to specialise at each of the incubator hubs to meet the business needs in those areas.”
In St George’s, Ms Smith said, the BEDC will support businesses that focus on heritage, cultural or sports tourism.
“Somerset has some beautiful assets, so there is an opportunity to focus on businesses that have more of an eco-tourism slant, or a lifestyle slant,” Ms Smith said.
“Somerset has beaches, water, the railway trail and nature reserves as well as 9 Beaches and Sandys 360, which are assets with an opportunity to be improved upon, leveraged, grown.”
North Hamilton, she said, “has a rich history from a grassroots perspective. It has an eclectic mix of businesses and we should build on that. The area has a cultural eclecticism, a rich heritage.
“We also want to focus on making that part of the city a technology hub.”
The BEDC will operate the incubators from its office spaces in Prince Alfred Lodge on Mangrove Bay Road in Somerset and in the Corporation of St George’s premises on Ordnance Island. An office on Union Street, in the North Hamilton EEZ, closed down four years ago, but the BEDC aspires to reopen an office in that zone, Ms Smith said.
“Entrepreneurs and would-be entrepreneurs have fantastic ideas to bring to life and they could solve a lot of our problems,” Ms Smith said. “We want to support them so that they have their best chance of success.”