Majority of new jobs will be in tech sector, summit told
Two thirds of new jobs created in Bermuda in the next two years will come from entrepreneurs, a tech summit has been told.
But while there has been a 300 per cent increase in businesses using online and e-commerce, there remains an urgency to re-tool, retrain and re-educate the island’s workforce.
A wide-ranging discussion about tech developments in Bermuda emerged during the Bermuda Virtual Tech Summit hosted by the Bermuda Business Development Agency.
The panel discussion moderated by Bermemes Partner Qian Dickinson was “Transformation of the Traditional Business Model — A Bermuda Perspective”.
Executive director of Ignite Bermuda Sean Reel said: “Sixty-five per cent of all jobs that will be created in Bermuda over the next couple of years will come from entrepreneurs.
“They will be the generators of wealth, growth and prosperity for Bermudians in the future.”
He also said: “Over the past two-and-a-half years, we [Ignite Bermuda] have supported over 300 entrepreneurs and community leaders and our approach is to open as many doors as possible.”
Ignite has successfully focused on job creation and diversity, providing a free accelerator programme, free office space and free access to experts and mentors for entrepreneurs.
Importantly, Ignite emphasises understanding the mindset, collaboration and knowing the numbers.
“It’s about having those key ingredients in play, ” Mr Reel said. “Our superpower is getting people to that mindset. It is the single most difficult challenge that we all face — having the right attitude, the right mindset.”
A largely visible Ignite success story is the app-based food delivery service Sargasso Sea, started by CEO Colin Rego in 2019. The yellow delivery boxes have become ubiquitous in Bermuda.
Mr Rego agreed that the pandemic accelerated the need for technology to bring value to daily living. Users of the app, vendors selling items delivered by Sargasso and those delivering the products all have to be able to use technology.
But he conceded that the use of technology was a challenge.
“I think there is a huge gap in the tech education and knowledge transfer that’s happening here.
“The biggest challenge is educating the community about how to utilise and leverage these tools to make our lives more efficient and create new jobs.
“The merchants, the agents, the customer — being able to utilise the applications, a web app for a fully functional service — click buttons in 60 seconds and be able to have service in 30 or 40 minutes. These are new ways.”
As one of the biggest leaders in the new gig economy, Mr Rego has about 20 office staff and 300 “agents” out in the field who have already made 400,000 deliveries.
Now he is about to leverage technology in a new venture, a smart fulfilment centre using AI and machine learning.
“Our mandate on the ‘national’ level will be, how do we reduce the food costs for the country and make it more affordable to live? How do we leverage technology to bring more value to the people and the communities we are all a part of?”
The job of finding tech-savvy Bermudians may get easier, especially through the efforts of Coral Wells and her charity, Connectech, which teaches technology, starting with children.
“We’ve had more than 3,000 students since we opened,” she said. “We are teaching them all-out tech — not just coding, but all the new technologies: AI, robotics and other really cool things.
“We’re teaching in all 18 primary schools and some of the middle schools. We start teaching them when they are 7 or 8 years old. We’ve started with children as young as 6 years old and take them through to adulthood.
“We have 12 middle and high-school students who have built apps.
“But this is not just for children. Everyone needs to be willing to learn new and emerging technologies.“