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Six Bermudians back from VolVis US exchange programme

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Six Bermudians are just back from a ten-day, four-city tour of the US where they learned a little about entrepreneurship.

It was all a part of Bermuda’s joint initiative with the Island’s US Consulate and the US State Department.

The exchange programme, called the Voluntary Visitors Exchange Programme, or VolVis, started back in 2005 to give Bermudians the opportunity to visit the US to meet, learn from and share ideas with professionals in their profession.

Past exchanges have focused on healthy families and children, early childhood education, alternative education and gangs.

This year, the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation was invited to send a delegation to the US to learn about entrepreneurship. The BEDC sent a six-person contingent made up of individuals from the private sector, non-profit organisations and government.

Erica Smith, Director of Hamilton’s Economic Empowerment Zone (EEZ) and member of the VolVis delegation, said the team visited four US cities Atlanta, Charleston, South Carolina, Savannah, Georgia and Washington, DC to learn more about innovative programmes that might be adaptable to Bermuda.

“The specific objective of the programme was to provide our team with a broad overview of entrepreneurial programs adaptable to a small island community, with emphasis on retail and small business as well as emphasis on economic development as it relates to art, music, retail, small business, green business and healthcare,” Ms Smith said. “Our team felt that exposure to the Voluntary Visitor program would strengthen our specific work in areas of promoting and facilitating entrepreneurship and business formation.”

Economy, Trade and Industry Minister, Patrice Minors said the visit allowed delegates to experience a broad range of new economic opportunities that might be worth exploring in Bermuda.

“The delegates felt that exposure to the programme would strengthen their work in their specific areas of responsibility and especially in promoting and facilitating entrepreneurship, job creation and economic growth,” Minister Minors said. “They felt the wealth of information collected and the contacts made would be highly useful in assisting Bermuda’s policies aimed at strengthening our economy.”

Leadership exchange: Members of the Voluntary Visitor exchange team from Bermuda - Hasan Durham, economic adviser, Ministry of Finance, Laquita Hill, owner of Kita's Beauty Salon and Barbershop, Gavin Smith, founder and executive director, The Chewstick Foundation, US Consul General Grace Shelton, Economy Minister Patrice Minors, Lucrecia Ming - assistant general manager, BEDC, Erica Smith - director, EEZ Agency and Nicole Warren, general manager, Phoenix Stores
Encouraging entrepreneurs: Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Patrice Minors speaks at a press conference to discuss the recent Voluntary Visitor Exchange to the US flanked by US Consul General Grace Shelton (Photo by Mark Tatem)

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Published March 23, 2012 at 2:00 am (Updated March 23, 2012 at 9:35 am)

Six Bermudians back from VolVis US exchange programme

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