Bermuda Economic Development Corporation (BEDC) was established in 1980 as a joint venture between the Bermuda Government and three banks: Butterfield Bank, Bank of Bermuda and Bermuda Commercial Bank. Its key objective is to assist the development of a strong, well-managed and successful small business sector in Bermuda by providing existing and potential small business owners with a broad range of business advice and financial assistance.
During its first decade of operation, the BEDC provided general start-up guidance, bookkeeping advice and loan guarantees that served as collateral for bank loans for persons who may have otherwise been declined by a Bank. In the early nineties, as the small business landscape changed and grew from “mom and pop operations” to employing more persons, competition grew and market demands became more complex. BEDC began to offer low cost quarterly seminars and workshops to enable entrepreneurs to educate themselves on relevant topics such as managing cashflow; controlling expenses and overhead; and developing marketing plans and communication strategies.
Over the years BEDC has counseled thousands of Bermudians on starting, expanding, winding up, restructuring, buying, and/or selling a business. An average of 350 private business advisory sessions on an annual basis are offered covering numerous types of businesses.
BEDC's free confidential counseling is offered one-on-one and has, in many cases, ended in the production of a business plan and a BEDC Loan Guarantee used to start a new business. To date, BEDC has supported in excess of $20,000,000 (twenty million dollars) in bank loans through the Loan Guarantee Program, directly assisting close to four hundred business persons.
In 2005, and within the framework of the Social Agenda, the BEDC added three initiatives to its original set of programmes. It was mandated by the Throne Speech to establish economic empowerment zones, a free market vendors initiative, and a small business construction incubator programme.