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Applications open as BEDC help for start-ups expands

Erica Smith: executive director of the BEDC

To elevate its Enterprise Bermuda Incubator programme, the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation has partnered with a top Canadian business growth programme.

The BEDC is now working with The Accelerator Centre in Waterloo, Ontario, and applications to participate in the next programme may be submitted until June 3.

A revised curriculum will complement the BEDC’s existing entrepreneurship course offerings to provide the 2022-23 EBI cohort with high-quality support and guidance for start-up success.

Entrepreneurs involved in the fourth BEDC cohort

Indira SwanThe Cool Mom Club, a clothing brand, mom blog, and playgroup for millennial moms of diverse backgrounds.

Keanne Bean –Graceful Bodi; a health coaching business.

Sionna Barton –J.A.G. Athletics, a business providing programmes to teach youth & adults combined athletic sports.

Evan Heyliger – Loquat Learning providing supplemental education for students between 7 and 17 years old.

Gavin CarterGavin’s Butter, a gourmet flavoured butter business.

Juana Simmons – iWashBDA, a concierge laundry-based business.

Rickai Edwards – Cedar Beam Advancements, a collection of informational Bermuda based websites.

The EBI launched in February 2018 as a free of charge 12-month incubation programme to help local start-ups get beyond the idea stage and start to bring their businesses to fruition.

Initially, the BEDC could only accept eight participants due to a physically small incubator hub to house the entrepreneurs.

In 2022, in addition to the partnership with the AC, the BEDC has expanded physically and technically to include three additional incubator hubs in each of its Economic Empowerment Zones in North East Hamilton, Somerset and St George’s.

This expansion has tripled the number of entrepreneurs that the 12-month programme can support annually.

“The BEDC Team have worked extremely hard to locate and renovate three new offices to facilitate the expanded programme,” said BEDC director of the micro, small and medium enterprise unit, Raymond Lambert.

“We are extremely excited for the opportunities this programme will offer for more Bermudian entrepreneurs.”

Erica Smith, BEDC executive director, said they were thrilled and honoured to partner with the AC.

“The BEDC mantra is to continue to improve its offerings in order to grow Bermuda’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and so collaborating with the AC enables us to do this with the EBI,” she said.

“Access to their expertise helps us provide new opportunities to Bermuda’s entrepreneurs. Likewise, we’re excited with the expansion to the EEZs which allows us to support at least 24 start-ups annually while positively impacting those regional zones through incubating businesses who wish to start up in those locations.”

Jay Krishnan, chief executive officer of AC, said that through this new programme the BEDC had taken the best of their globally recognised programme and combined it with local supports to create something truly unique.

“BEDC’s programme reflects the diversity and priorities of Bermudian business owners, and this innovative programme will deepen their impact as a key economic driver,” Mr Krishnan said. “We are looking forward to working with the BEDC and Bermudian business owners as they build thriving businesses with big impact.”

Competition will be high with at least 24 successful applicants selected for one of the coveted spots distributed across the island in the east, west, and central. Each start-up will receive assistance with analysing and refining their business idea to best determine if it will work in and beyond the Bermuda market.

Through the partnership with the AC, the BEDC has revamped the curriculum and with the use of a new online tool, Incubator Pro, the programme can now better track business progression and growth.

Nikki Fagan, will be joining the programme as the EBI incubation lead. She will support all the start-ups along their entrepreneurial journey.

“I can’t wait to get started,” Ms Fagan said. “When I saw the position advertised, I immediately said they created this role for me. My previous experience as co-owner of Brand Lion and my most recent passion project with my own business incubator has prepared me to excel as the incubation lead. Helping other entrepreneurs realise their dream is my passion.”

Selected start-ups will receive access to the revamped curriculum, BEDC’s entrepreneurial educational courses and programmes; free and subsidised office space; an assigned business development officer; and personalised mentoring with industry experts.

In addition, successful applicants will receive access to pro-bono or subsidised services in marketing, accounting, legal support, web development, and more; and an international entrepreneurial experience will be offered to a start-up that shines during the 12-month immersion programme.

With the fourth cohort having just ended in April, seven start-ups pursued their journey, launching and growing their businesses within Bermuda’s economic landscape, even during the global pandemic.

Since the commencement of the programme, 28 new enterprises have started up and 80 jobs have been created.

Applications can be submitted until June 3 online at www.bedc.bm.

Interviews of shortlisted applicants will take place during the week of June 8. The fifth cohort of the Enterprise Bermuda Incubator starts on June 14.

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Published May 12, 2022 at 7:53 am (Updated May 12, 2022 at 7:53 am)

Applications open as BEDC help for start-ups expands

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