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Construction Incubator initiative leads to first building project

The first public building project to come from Government initiatives to nurture small and medium-sized construction companies has been unveiled by Minister of Trade and Industry Kim Wilson.

The renovation project at Sea Song, near John Smith’s Bay, is the result of the Construction Incubator and Hands Up programmes. These are designed to equip businesses with the skills they need to compete well in the tendering process for Government contracts.

There have been 90 graduates so far from Construction Incubator, a 16-week series of seminars and workshops covering all aspects of running a construction firm including accounting, marketing, contracts and estimating, business strategy and project supervision.

Hands Up is designed to support companies once they have graduated. According to Sen Wilson, the objective is to increase the pool of local firms with the contract management, knowledge and skills who can effectively work on public projects.

“The goal is to enhance their business and contract management acumen and better position these entrepreneurs to take advantage of the opportunities afforded them through public sector initiatives and, ultimately, to grow their businesses accordingly,” explained Sen Wilson.

As a result of the programmes, local construction, trucking and painting company SOLO successfully bid for the $130,000 project to turn Sea Song from a disused and dilapidated building housing two studio apartments to a brand new one-bedroom. Work began two weeks ago.

The building is owned by the Parks Department, which will decide what to do with it once it is finished.

Sen Wilson explained: “The Bermuda Small Business Development Corporation and the Ministry of Public Works have partnered to ensure that graduates of the Construction Incubator have access to a series of small projects that will allow them to apply the knowledge that they learned as graduates of the Construction Incubator programme.

“The first of these projects is Sea Song. Through BSBDC’s tendering process, which included a thorough review of all applications received, submissions were fully vetted and then short-listed.

“Of those short-listed, a final committee made up of members of the BSBDC’s Small Business Construction Incubator Sub-Committee awarded the contract to one of the graduates of the Construction Incubator, SOLO Contracting Limited. Today we are bearing witness to the fruits of their labour, and I want to take this opportunity to publicly congratulate SOLO on winning this bid.”

Dennis Simons, owner and manager of SOLO said: “It’s a pleasure to be the first in the incubators to have the responsibility to bring this project in on time. It’s a large credit to the company.”

Mr Simons said his company benefited from the Government programmes by improving on areas such as management skills, pricing and contract management.

Sen Wilson said the initiatives are just one aspect of a series of plans she will announce aimed at strengthening the Bermuda economy and reducing unemployment.

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Members of the Bermuda Small Business Development Corporation together with Kim Wilson, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry and personel from SOLO Contracting - including owner Dennis Simons (second from the right) - discuss the new project at Sea Song near John Smith's Bay.

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Published August 09, 2011 at 2:00 am (Updated August 09, 2011 at 9:15 am)

Construction Incubator initiative leads to first building project

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