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Providing a soft landing for people relocating to Bermuda

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Cesa Edwards, left, and Lloyd Holder of Soft Landing Relocation after winning the BEDC’s 2020 Rocket Pitch competition in the tourism category (Photograph supplied)
Cesa Edwards, left, and Lloyd Holder of Soft Landing Relocation after winning the BEDC’s 2020 Rocket Pitch competition in the tourism category (Photograph supplied)
Cesa Edwards, president of Soft Landing Relocation (Photograph supplied)
Lloyd Holder, chief executive officer of Soft Landing Relocation (Photograph supplied)

Researchers have found that moving to a new country can be one of life’s most hellish activities, more emotionally taxing than losing a job or even suffering a major illness.

To help relieve some of the stress for people moving to Bermuda, Lloyd Holder and Cesa Edwards launched a new company this week, Soft Landing Relocation.

The company is the brainchild of chief executive officer Mr Holder. He started thinking about the relocation experience when his friend moved to Bermuda to work, a year ago.

“I had lots of discussions with him about what it was like,” Mr Holder said. “He had to quarantine when he got here. He said no worries, I will just take an Uber from the airport. I said, no you won’t. That does not exist here. When you think about things in the context of someone coming from North America, they are going to have these various expectations about what is accessible and how quickly things will happen. The reality of not just relocating to Bermuda, but also doing business in Bermuda, is that things can take a bit longer than we might want them to. That is where we see the gap.”

He said the idea for Soft Landing Relocation happened on the back of researching global trends around digital nomads, and others on the move.

Soft Landing Relocation aims to be a one-stop shop, helping new Bermuda residents to find transportation, housing, schools, friends, groceries, medical services and more.

“In a nutshell, all we want to do is offer the new resident a smooth comprehensive transition from their home to our home,” said company president Ms Edwards.

Mr Holder has a background in technology, hospitality and transportation, and Ms Edwards has more than 30 years of experience in the real estate arena.

Mr Holder said there is sometimes a perception that people are just going to slide right into life on a tropical island, but that is not always the case.

In 2020, the duo polled 100 people who had just landed on the island, consisting of new residents on a work permit visa and digital nomads.

”Approximately 70 per cent of the group said it was a stressful process moving to the island,“ Ms Edwards said. ”There was no one to give them the detailed intricacies of acclimating here, and the ins and outs of settling. Lots of them were winging it is as they went along.“

But Ms Edwards said they already know where new residents can get set up.

“We have already made many connections with partners in providing that,” Ms Edwards said. “A lot of new residents do not realise you need a doctors appointment to actually get a driver’s licence. A lot don’t realise that you need a long term residence to open a bank account.”

Mr Holder said the smoother the assimilation, the more the person tends to fall in love with their new country.

They have heard estimates that there are anywhere from 400 to 500 digital nomads on the island right now, with more applications being processed. Some of them have come to the island to seek out a nice place to ride out the pandemic.

But Mr Holder was confident the business’s success was not contingent on the pandemic.

“There were digital nomads before the word was vogue,” he said. “They are always going to want to come here to do their business.

Ms Edwards said since the pandemic digital working is said to be the new norm.

“From what we are reading and different presentations that are being given, they are saying collaboration and team work are facilitated by technology,” she said. “In the technological world, they are thinking that nomads is going to be the way forward.”

They are targeting not just digital nomads, but anyone is making a move to Bermuda.

Soft Landing Relocation launched officially on Monday, but they already had a few clients before that. Ms Edwards recalled that last year she had to walk a client through hurricane preparedness when a storm approached Bermuda.

“I had to take a digital nomad to get buckets and non perishable goods, rope, tarpaulin,” she said. “It was so helpful to him. He could see first hand with a local what it takes to prepare for a hurricane.”

So far, most of Soft Landing Relocation’s work has been done virtually.

“We are now no longer limited by borders,” Mr Holder said. “That is another reason why we believe Bermuda to be an attractive place for a transient work force. We expect that is on the verge of a global trend. Companies are setting up so they can send staff members to specific locations for various rotations.”

The duo believe Bermuda will continue to see a rise in people moving to the island to work, even as we come out of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Now is the best time to start this business,” Ms Edwards said. “We are being proactive.”

Mr Holder said the global pandemic made things a little more complicated for them, but it also gave them time to formulate their business strategy. Their business idea won the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation Pink Pitch competition in 2020.

“I am pleased that we have been able to do some of this through the existing government platforms such as the BEDC,” Mr Holder said.

Ms Edwards was proud of her business partner.

“He is a black entrepreneur igniting this idea of opening up what we feel is such an important service in Bermuda,” she said. “I am humbled that Lloyd would even consider me to partner with him.”

For more information see www.softlanding.bm, e-mail info@softlanding.bm or call 535-2769.

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Published June 09, 2021 at 7:59 am (Updated June 09, 2021 at 7:57 am)

Providing a soft landing for people relocating to Bermuda

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