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Helping create a spark in economy

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Don Mackenzie (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

This week we are excited to announce the launch of Ignite, a new type of support system for entrepreneurs and small businesses in Bermuda.

Why Ignite?

Many have experienced the impact of low levels of job creation and opportunities in the present economic environment. This means that the local economy, as it has done historically, needs to be an engine of growth for Bermudians.

A large portion of the Bermuda economy, and job creation, relies on small business and entrepreneurial activities.

In today’s environment, starting or growing a small business is more difficult than ever.

Small-business owners and entrepreneurs often do not have a natural and trusted network of mentors or advisers to guide them at the start-up or growth stage of a business.

Furthermore, it is not obvious how and where to find people who are willing to provide capital, nor is it easy to obtain something as simple as an office environment to work out of.

Ignite’s aim is to address these challenges by providing:

1, Office space in a purpose-designed 4,000 square foot facility, generously provided by Argus, in the heart of Hamilton

2, A series of programmes, including a boot camp and workshops, which will enable the entrepreneur to gain the right mindset

3, Mentoring and advisory support from other entrepreneurs and sector experts

4, When appropriate, access to investors

As a registered charity, this will be provided at no cost to the successful applicants.

Starting and running a business is hard everywhere, not just Bermuda. The advantage that we do have on our island is that there are a number of people and organisations who want to help.

Over the past year, we have witnessed a huge appetite for the community to improve economic participation for all Bermudians.

This desire to support has come in many forms.

We have direct financial support for Ignite from numerous individuals and companies who want to see Bermudians succeed through creating their economic independence via small business and entrepreneurship.

We also see a network of skilled people who want to volunteer time and expertise to mentor and help.

There is also a large group of investors who want to place capital to support start-ups and small businesses.

We also have our ambassadors: Bermudians who have a demonstrated track record in building their visions and who want to inspire other Bermudians to pursue their dreams.

Importantly, a diverse and dedicated group of about 20 individuals has worked over the past year to bring an idea to reality.

Our aim is to work with existing programmes and infrastructure. We want to acknowledge the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation, which has assisted us from the beginning.

We see the BEDC as a continuing and key partner of Ignite; each of us providing complementary and critical services to the small-business and entrepreneur community.

Success is not always guaranteed for small-business owners and entrepreneurs; however, we hope that Ignite will provide a spark to help Bermudians to better develop economic freedom and opportunities.

One of our visions is that Ignite will reinforce our absolute belief that, regardless of our backgrounds and experience, through working together as a community and supporting each other, we can provide job-growth opportunities for all Bermudians.

We invite the community to visit us at ignitebermuda.com and welcome your support to join us in strengthening Bermuda’s small-business and entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Don Mackenzie, the chairman and owner of New Venture Holdings, and Neil Patterson, the chairman of KPMG Bermuda, are directors of Bermuda Accelerator Limited, the company that operates Ignite Bermuda

Neil Patterson (Photograph by Akil Simmons)