Bermuda Works: What’s in a name and how the BEDC can help you start a small business
Business Buzz - is a monthly column presented by the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation. Every month, read about entrepreneurship, obtain business management tips, and find out what’s going on in the small business sector. (This is Part 1 of What’s in a Name) Recently, people have been asking why the Bermuda Small Business Development Corporation (BSBDC)’s name was changed to the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation (BEDC). It’s quite simple; we no longer cater to only Small Businesses. In 2011 the BSBDC act was amended to allow us to assist Medium sized businesses as well. Naturally the name had to change as a result. So what’s in a name? What does the BEDC really do? In the words of one of our stakeholders “[the BEDC] helps people who want to start their own business”. While this statement is true, and is a view shared by many, it doesn’t fully cover everything that we do. Specifically, the BEDC helps people by: 1. Providing technical advice and guidance on setting up and expanding businesses; 2. Identifying and coordinating low cost workshops and quarterly seminars; 3. Granting loans and providing other forms of financial assistance like loan guarantees; 4. Operating and managing vendor markets; 5. Managing the development and implementation of the economic empowerment zones; and 6. Maintaining a Register of Small and Medium-Sized Businesses and Economic Empowerment Zone Business Entities What does all of this mean for the average person looking to start, grow or resuscitate a business? There is a lot that goes into the BEDC accomplishing the six service areas listed above. In the coming weeks, I will expand on each of the service areas in a series of articles. This article will focus on how the BEDC provides technical advice and guidance. The first thing to know is that the technical advice and guidance BEDC provides is FREE! Thanks to an annual Government grant, we are able to speak with existing and potential entrepreneurs about their ideas and help to suggest ways that they can make their dreams a reality. We encourage anyone with ideas about owning and operating their own business to stop by the BEDC offices on the first floor of Sofia House Let us be your first stop for business advice. We provide advice on Government rules and regulations, business proposals, business strategy, managing finances, accounting and obtaining financial assistance. We can also match you with industry experts in IT, accounting, marketing, etc. To make an appointment, contact us at
email@example.com or call 292-5570 and our friendly Client Service Representative, Ms. Valita Brown, will be happy to schedule an appointment with one of our Officers. Most of the BEDC Officers are available to meet with clients Monday - Friday from 9am - 5pm. To ensure that there is enough time discuss your idea, we recommend making an appointment; however, if you just want to pop by and speak with someone, each Officer has a designated day for walk in appointments: Monday - Jamillah Lodge Tuesday - Roxanne Christopher Wednesday - Michelle Khaldun (after 12 noon) Thursday - Lucrecia Ming Friday - Open During your appointment, the Officers can discuss a range of things with you. Think of a confidential meeting where you can bounce your ideas off of someone and get unbiased feedback to help to guide you in the right direction. It sounds a bit like a therapy session doesn’t it? Well in some ways that is exactly what it is. It is therapy for your business idea. Being able to confidentially speak with someone about your idea can help you to identify opportunities and avoid missteps in what can be an exciting but challenging endeavour. In addition to being able to brainstorm the best way to proceed, in these meeting BEDC Officers can also assist you with building your business plan. We can review and provide feedback on a plan as well as assist with the development of cash flow projections. Did I mention that this was a free service? Hopefully, this article has provided you with more insight into what type of advice BEDC provides. In the next article we will explore the workshops and seminars that the BEDC coordinates and highlight some of the events that have helped existing and new business owners navigate the path to entrepreneurship. Jamillah Lodge is a Business Development Officer for Bermuda Economic Development Corporation. She specialises in providing aspiring and existing entrepreneurs with business development advice and loan guarantee assistance. In addition, she manages the marketing and communications plan for the Corporation and oversees the development of a mentorship and youth entrepreneurship programme. She has a degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer and should serve a general guide and should not be considered as replacement advice from a lawyer, accountant or other professional service provider. Readers should consult with the appropriate professionals as necessary. If you have questions about starting a business in Bermuda, just ask BEDC: Email us at
firstname.lastname@example.org or call 292-5570.