Ignite impacts the economy and people
Businesses participating in the Ignite Bermuda entrepreneurial accelerator have created more than 150 jobs since 2019, the organisation has reported.
Forty-seven full-time and 105 part-time jobs are attributed to the entrepreneurial ventures that took part in the first three cohorts of the Ignite programme.
Ignite reported 37 per cent sales growth of cohort businesses, and said that the total revenue of cohort businesses is $3,641,918.
The organisation said that 85 families have been directly supported by core cohort members.
More than 80 businesses and more than 250 entrepreneurs and community leaders have been supported by Ignite, the organisation said.
It added that more than 120 hours of professional development have been presented over 33 events, while its staff have provided 850 hours of enablement to participating entrepreneurs.
The organisation launched its Young Adult Entrepreneurship Internship this summer, which sees Ignite alumni provide internship opportunities for young Bermudians.
Last year the organisation won a Best of Bermuda Award for Good Corporate Citizen.
The statistics and other details about the first three cohorts of Ignite are set out in the organisation’s Impact Report 2019-2021: Jobs & Diversity for Bermuda.
Sean Reel, executive director of Ignite, said: “It is really important to have measurements like this in place. We are a start-up as well, and it is really important to measure how Ignite impacts the economy and people of Bermuda.”
The first five-month cohort of Ignite in 2019 was held in-person, and the second cohort was at its halfway point of in-person sessions when the Covid-19 pandemic began to have an impact on Bermuda.
The remainder of the second cohort was held virtually.
Mr Reel said: “We had to pivot, and change how we coached and trained, and we had to learn new skills online like how to run Zoom and how to keep engagement high in two-hour online sessions.”
The third and fourth cohorts, the latter of which concludes next month, have been presented in a hybrid of in-person and virtual sessions.
Beginning with the third cohort, Ignite reserved spaces to allow the island’s not-for-profit organisations to participate in the programme.
The fifth cohort is to begin in January. On Monday, the first day that applications were open, 20 were received.
Over the first three cohorts, the programme was oversubscribed by a multiple of four.
Mr Reel said that shows “a passion in Bermuda for entrepreneurship and for not-for-profits. That seemed to accelerate during Covid.”
Ignite reported a surplus of $89,624 for its first full fiscal period from incorporation to March 31, 2020, which was carried into the next fiscal year.
The report said that Ignite’s “fundraising efforts continue and we are looking for ways to maintain our long-term sustainability through commercial programmes and third-party investment”.
The organisation said financials for fiscal year 2021 have not yet been audited but it expects to see a “small excess of expenditures over income due to the continued expansion of our programme and the impact of Covid on our fundraising efforts”.
Ignite was launched in March 2019. The pandemic permitting, it provides a physical facility for start-ups to work and network in — the 4,000-square-foot Ignite Bermuda Hub Space in the Argus Building on Wesley Street, Hamilton, which has been donated by Argus.
On start-up, Ignite entered into a three-year consultancy agreement with Entrepreneurial Spark, a United Kingdom-based team of “mindset enablers” that have created a proprietary approach that combines bespoke start-up and growth coaching with a development programme that concentrates on taking action as an entrepreneur rather than simply learning about it.
Ignite has developed a boot-camp and customised-for-Bermuda curriculum to assist entrepreneurs to develop their mindsets and their businesses.
Chairman Don Mackenzie and deputy chairman Neil Patterson wrote in the impact report: “The Ignite ecosystem is about nurturing and developing all of the necessary elements to create a healthy support system for Bermuda’s entrepreneurs, small businesses and community leaders.
“An equally important mission is to create a safe environment where entrepreneurs can take risks and collaborate with and support each other. If the environment is healthy and supportive, the outcomes are job creation, wider economic participation and diversification of the economy.”
They said that the organisation’s ecosystem has several key elements: financial sponsors, the curriculum, expert delivery of the programme by enablers Mr Reel and Ignite manager Laura Lyons, a network of mentors, experts and companies who provide support and education, and a community of investors who will invest and provide capital to small business.
The organisation acknowledged the important contributions made by volunteers who assist Ignite.
Mr Mackenzie and Mr Patterson added: “Finally, Ignite would not be the same without the vibrant community of entrepreneurs who have the courage and self-belief to create opportunities for themselves and their team members.
“The level of demand for our first three cohorts has far exceeded our expectations.
“More importantly, the quality and attitude of our cohorts has inspired us to work even harder to support them. Their stories inspire us and we hope you will feel the same.”
The impact report includes stories about Ignite participants Christina Sgobba of Lemoncello Designs, Kristen Scott Ndiaye of The Well, Melissa Looby of The Pulse and her sister Jennifer Woods of Prep’d, Colin Rego of the Sargasso Sea app, Gayneté Jones of G.A.M.E. Changing Industries, and Kelly Madeiros of Solstice.
The application deadline for the fifth cohort is October 15.
For more, see www.ignitebermuda.com