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Transition ahead for Bermuda Business Development Agency

Shifting goals: David Hart, CEO of the Bermuda Business Development Agency (File photograph)

The Bermuda Business Development Agency is expected to shift gears in the next financial year, and take on new responsibilities, in an enhanced effort to promote direct inward investment into the island.

The BDA is already excited at the opportunity, commenting that it will increase their ability to meet key goals outlined in government’s Economic Development Strategy.

This was in response to Friday’s Throne Speech which informed Parliament of a plan to convert the BDA into an investment promotion agency.

“Business Attraction and Investment Promotion” is the second priority as outlined in the Economic Development Strategy 2023 – 2027, released in June.

But the Strategy says the BDA was already involved in such key initiatives. The report said at the time: “The Bermuda Business Development Agency works on attracting business through its global marketing and outreach activities.

“The BDA continues its focus on attracting businesses in the areas of asset management, climate risk finance, high net-worth services, infrastructure, insurance and risk and technology to Bermuda.

“Attracting new business to Bermuda is a critical part of the overall Economic Development Strategy.

“It provides a means for new job creation and increased tax revenue, greater levels of competition, new products and services and economic expansion.

“The BDA’s investment promotion consists of activities that typically have four different mandates: place branding, investment generation, investor facilitation and investor services and policy advocacy.“

What the changes will mean for the BDA have not yet been fully explained, but IPAs are typically involved in similar work.

They also seek out external investors and match them with local opportunities, in this case, bringing investment into the island.

They also help such foreign investors cut through red tape and bureaucracy to facilitate the inward flow of capital and other investment.

But IPAs are often also data collectors, providing useful business and economic information that can help with a better understanding for further business development.

The Throne Speech states: “The BDA has operated as a marketing agency and concierge for new business for some years and has a record of promoting the best that Bermuda has to offer the global community.

“The competition for foreign, direct investment is evidenced by the number of jurisdictions creating agencies with such a goal as their single remit.

“Driven by the board of the BDA and endorsed by the Ministry of Economy and Labour, the organisation will pivot now from a marketing/development agency towards an investment promotion agency or IPA.

“This transition will commence in earnest with a view to its completion to coincide with the new fiscal year, 2024/25.”

David Hart, chief executive officer of the BDA said, “This is an exciting time for the BDA, and we see significant opportunity in the transition to an IPA.

“The end result will lead to better, more data focused economic outcomes, and it will aim to produce greater investment generation into Bermuda.

“While this work is still in the early stages, we look forward to working with Government, stakeholders and valued partners over the next several months to reach new heights together.”

The BDA said that IPAs exist in many different forms in the majority of countries but most often have a primary mission to attract investment to a country, region or city.

Most IPAs do this by undertaking marketing activities that create awareness about the location as an attractive investment destination and generally have four main areas of focus: image building; investment generation; project management; and, aftercare services.

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Published November 05, 2023 at 5:00 pm (Updated November 05, 2023 at 6:27 pm)

Transition ahead for Bermuda Business Development Agency

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