Bermuda’s business advantages in focus
The Bermuda market may be small, but it provides some advantages that other, larger jurisdictions can’t match, a panel of experts told audience members at the Bermuda Entrepreneurship Summit.
The “Business in Bermuda” panel, moderated by Danielle Paynter of Butterfield Bank, featured Erica Smith, executive director of the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation, Salon Pink owner Kidist “Pinky” Emery, serial entrepreneur Michael Branco, and Sean Reel, executive director of the privately funded business accelerator, Ignite Bermuda.
“The beauty of the island is that we can reach people quickly and at a lower cost,” Mr Reel told the entrepreneurs in attendance. “You can reach your customers.”
He added: “The intimacy and friendliness of Bermudians means entrepreneurs are able to have intimate conversations about what they really need.
“So, get out of your office and into your customer’s space and really, really listen to them. Those conversations can help you to really succeed.”
Ms Smith encouraged entrepreneurs to think beyond the island’s 21 square miles.
She said: “We want to expose entrepreneurs to overseas opportunities, to go on trade missions to expose their products and services to markets beyond Bermuda.
“If you are solving a problem in Bermuda, think of other markets outside Bermuda as well.”
Mr Branco runs four companies — Innovation House, Ptix, AAC, and IT outfit Fireminds. He said a business trip to the Caribbean reminded him of the advantage of building a business in a small-island jurisdiction.
“I was at a meeting at the Bank of Jamaica, and someone asked ‘where are you from?’,” Mr Branco recalled.
“When I said I was from Bermuda, the person said ‘so, you get us’ because I understood island IT issues.
“So, take what you are able to learn in Bermuda, and replicate it on other islands. Get it right here, use Bermuda as a platform, and then replicate it.”
He added: “You will see me pop up on Instagram soon on a new island.”
Ms Emery, owner of the island’s “first and only training salon”, said when her business opened eight years ago she wasn’t sure who its ideal customer was. “So, we marketed to everyone on the island,” she says.
The salon’s point of sale system, Ms Emery said, was able to gather information about who the salon’s ideal customer was, and that allowed the business to contact those customers quickly and directly.
Now, the salon knows that its ideal customer is a person 40-plus having “disposable income and valuing what we do”, Ms Emery said.
She added: “There are a lot of people out there doing highlights, but no one is connecting with their customers like we do.” Mr Reel told the audience that Bermuda residents should all be proud of the entrepreneurial spirit on island.
He said: “Everyone should support those who are trying to become entrepreneurs, and buy from those who are.”
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