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Bermuda Works: BEDC uses education as a tool to empower

This is part two of a five-part series of articles to help you to understand what the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation (BEDC) does and how we can help you on your path towards entrepreneurship.

In the last article we provided an overview of the services that the BEDC provides:

• Loan guarantees and financial assistance

• Technical advice and guidance

• Operating and managing vendor markets

• Managing and developing Economic Empowerment Zones

• Maintaining a Business Register

• Delivering and coordinating low cost workshops and seminars

In this article we will review the educational opportunities that BEDC creates with its seminars, workshops and other events.

Although we encourage all those interested in starting or managing a business to make BEDC your first stop, we recognise that a meeting with one of our Officers may not be able to address all of your concerns about starting a business. Thus BEDC coordinates seminars and educational workshops on a variety of topics related to conducting better business to supplement the advice and guidance the Officers provide. While there is sometimes a minimal cost to attend the seminars most of them are free!

Working towards the goal of being the one-stop-shop for all things local business, the team at BEDC recognises that it is necessary to partner with industry experts and other organisations to provide specialised information to stakeholders. BEDC seminars provide the local business community with access to local and international expert advice.

Do the seminars we provide actually add value? To answer this question, we survey seminar participants. Feedback shows that most attendees find the information to be useful and will help them to conduct better business. When asked, 100 percent of those who responded indicated that they would refer others to our seminars.

Feedback this year indicated that participants wanted more industry specific seminars, therefore this year more seminars will focus on industries including: Tourism/Hospitality, Day and Elderly Care Facilities, Food Services, Retail, Green and Blue Business and eBusiness. Be on the lookout for the next seminar about Tourism which is scheduled for late September or early October.

In addition to the BEDC seminars, opportunities often arise that allow the BEDC to partner with other organisations to provide you with access to even more information. An example of this partnership is an upcoming Lunch & Learn series that will be held at Colonial Insurance on September 12th and September 26th from 12.15pm to 1:15pm. This is a free opportunity for BEDC members to learn how to best protect their business in case the sole owner or primary partner is no longer able to operate. If you are interested in attending, be sure to register with BEDC by e-mailing me at jlodge@bedc.bm.

Prior to 2011 BEDC seminars focused mainly on issues concerning small businesses; however, as part of the newly expanded legislation, BEDC now offers support to medium sized businesses and has partnered with KPMG to offer a series of seminars to assist these business owners with issues that more seasoned entrepreneurs encounter. Upcoming topics will cover: managing through the economic downturn, representation of the sector on economic policy matters, business succession and transition planning, identifying growth opportunities and supporting expansion, human resource strategies. To date, three seminars have been held to address some of these issues. KPMG Partner Steve Woodward said “KPMG is pleased to continue to partner with BEDC to provide support to the Medium Sized Business Community, hosting seminars on a variety of topics to help business owners better manage and run successful businesses.”

In addition to organising our own seminars and partnering with other organisations, BEDC also hosts other events to encourage entrepreneurship. Since 2008 BEDC has participated as a host member for Global Entrepreneurship Week which will be held November 18th to 24th this year. GEW is a weeklong initiative that helps to encourage and inspire entrepreneurship. Some of the great events that have been held over the years include the Rocket Pitch Business idea competition, the Launch Pad TV show to help entrepreneurs raise financing for their business, the Face 2 Face competition in Partnership with British Airways that took five entrepreneurs to the UK to help to develop an international connection, eMonday, a partnership with the Department of e-commerce that advanced e-commerce and e-business in Bermuda, the annual Business Networking Matters Event which brings together hundreds of business owners and service providers in one location to facilitate ease of networking. Each of these events is an educational opportunity for the participants and it is in keeping with the goal of the BEDC to remain committed to business success.

Check out next month's article when we will discuss how BEDC helps you to finance your 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.

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, Jamillah manages the marketing and communications plan for the Corporation and is responsible for developing mentorship and youth entrepreneurship programmes. She is a former business owner and holds 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: E-mail us at info@bedc.bm or call 292-5570.

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Published September 10, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated September 09, 2013 at 6:59 pm)

Bermuda Works: BEDC uses education as a tool to empower

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