Join me on my international business journey
In any society with diverse views, there will often be differing perspectives and views of the “others”. Here in Bermuda, we have a country of at least two different cultures and varying socioeconomic circles.
Over the next few months, I will be taking a closer look at international business and speaking with many of the individuals — both guest workers and Bermudians — involved in this industry.
During the course of this journey, it is hoped that not only will we learn more about what makes international business tick but indeed international business will learn more about what makes Bermudians tick. As seen with the so-called “Panama Papers”, there is a global misconception about our main industry that, if not countered on multiple fronts, could prove disastrous not only for international business, but also for Bermuda itself.
By way of a bit of background, let's look at the transition from tourism to a leading world business centre.
Over the past 30 years, international business has become our main economic engine, pumping more than 60 per cent into our economy by way of:
• Payroll taxes to government coffers
• Office rentals
• Salaries to Bermudians
• Rents from guest workers
• Goods and services purchased daily
• Donations to charities
This is the narrative that multiple persons and entities have expounded on a daily basis to educate Bermudians on how international business has become an integral part of our daily lives. In essence, there are two parts to the narrative: how international business affects us and how we can help international business.
Leading this charge of public education are two organisations — the Association of Bermuda International Companies and the Bermuda Business Development Agency, which have teamed up for a multimedia campaign called “Everybody's Business”. This campaign intends to demonstrate how international business fuels the economy and how it positively affects all of us, whether we work in offices and boardrooms or not.
Described as the voice of international business, the ABIC has more than 110 members and works to ensure that Bermuda remains an attractive place to operate an international company. It promotes a sound business environment for international business and the Bermuda community. Since 1977, ABIC members have supported the ABIC Education Awards, a needs-based scholarship that has helped more than 540 students with their college education expenses.
As described on its official website, the BDA encourages direct investment and helps international companies to start up, relocate or expand their operations in our premier jurisdiction. An independent, public-private partnership, the BDA supports existing companies and connects prospective business to industry professionals, regulatory officials and key contacts in the Bermuda Government to assist domicile decisions. The BDA's targeted marketing and business development strategies aim to stimulate growth in the Bermuda economy and to help to foster an environment conducive to creating and maintaining jobs.
In future columns, we will delve deeper into the numbers to answer questions such as:
• How many persons work in international business
• How many of them are Bermudian
• How many are non-Bermudian
• Careers available in international business
• Qualifications needed to work in international business
This series is written in the hope that it serves to educate and to enlighten about the realities of one of the major components of our economy.