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Small business expo coming to Sandys

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The BEDC’s first Sandys EEZ Small Business Expo will be held at Willow Bank Resort and Conference Centre in Sandys on Saturday (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Ondreyah Rochester, of the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation, thinks many people made starting a new business a new year’s resolution for 2023.

“Last month the number of people booking appointments to talk to the BEDC about their business idea peaked,” she said.

But Ms Rochester, who runs the BEDC’s Sandys economic empowerment zone programme, found that many of the people calling were clueless about everything from their government obligations such as payroll tax to the promotional material on their website.

Shi-Vaughn Lee, owner of the Dove & Butterfly skin care line, will speak on marketing at the BEDC’s small business expo on Saturday (Photograph by Jessie Moniz Hardy)

To help, she has organised the EEZ Sandys Small Business Expo on Saturday.

The event will include panel discussions on four key topics: establishing payment processing, marketing your business, business support services and government obligations.

It will also play host to 21 businesses and organisations that provide support services for small businesses, in a trade-show style.

Participants will even be able to sort out that awful picture they are using on their business website. The expo is offering a professional head shot package for $75.

Speakers will include Shi-Vaughn Lee, owner of the local small business Dove & Butterfly; Jamillah Lodge, from the BEDC; Nikki Fagan, of Brandstrategy.com; and Laura Lyons, from the Ignite business accelerator programme.

Ms Rochester has seen a boom in new business creation since the pandemic began, particularly among women.

“I have seen some men start new businesses,” she said. “But a lot of women are looking to create a second income. A lot of women have also had ideas for a long time, but sat on them. During the pandemic, people had more time to put more thought and research into their ideas.”

Many women are creating businesses specifically in the beauty care and wellness arena.

“In today’s society, we have access to a lot more resources,” Ms Rochester said. “There are a lot of educational videos on TikTok that show you how to make candles or cosmetics.”

So far, the expo has just under 200 people registered.

“But you do not have to register,” Ms Rochester said. “You can just come as you please.”

The BEDC is about to open a new EEZ office at 68 Somerset Road in Sandys.

“We have always had an office in Somerset, but we have now moved to a more visible location,” Ms Rochester said.

The Sandys office is not quite ready, but should be open soon.

“The Small Business Expo is not just for West End businesses,” she said. “We hope it will bring in traffic from all over the island.”

EEZ Sandys’ Small Business Expo is on Saturday from 11am to 4pm in the Willowbank Resort and Conference Centre at 126 Somerset Road in Sandys.


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Published February 09, 2023 at 7:56 am (Updated February 09, 2023 at 7:56 am)

Small business expo coming to Sandys

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