Below are some of the questions we are asked quite often. Our responses are attached to each question.
A: Under the BEDC Act 1980, a “small business” is defined as: Bermudian-owned and managed, operating locally, having an annual gross payroll not exceeding five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000) and having annual sales revenues of less than one million dollars ($1,000,000).
Q: Will the details of my business affairs be held in confidence?
A: The BEDC is legally prohibited from revealing to anyone details of the business affairs of its clients, except as may be necessary to discharge its functions. In fact, we take the confidentiality of our clients seriously and we are happy to sign a confidentiality agreement if the client so desires.
Q: How do I know if I qualify for assistance?
A: Any small business that has no other means of collateral may contact the BEDC and apply for assistance or use any of its services.
Q: I would like to start a small, part-time business from my home. I have a full-time job so I already have full health coverage and benefits. What other legal requirements do I have to meet? Are there any forms I need to fill out? Do I need to register my business, and if so, where?
A: The only employee benefit that you are required to pay in order to operate legally is the payment of payroll tax if you are working more than four hours a week. You need to register your company at the Tax Commissioner’s Office, which is located in the F.B. Perry building on Church Street, right next to the Hamilton Market Place. As you are already employed full-time, that negates the need for your part-time company to cover your social insurance, health insurance and private pension.
Q: Please consult the BEDC’s Four Compulsory Employee Benefits information sheet for more information.
A: Since you are planning to operate from your residence, however, you need permission from the Department of Planning to do so. This will allow you to have a legitimate home-based occupation. The Development Application team (at 297-7756) will assist you in the process.
Q: Can BEDC give me a detailed list of small businesses currently based in Bermuda, including names, fax numbers and e-mails?
A: BEDC client names and other key information is protected by law under the Small Business Act of 1981 (amended 1989, 2007) and cannot be divulged without the client's consent or through the other clauses outlined in the Act. You may, however, consult the Island’s online directories (such as the Bermuda Yellow Pages at www.bermudayp.com or Bermuda Communications Directory for a listing of the retailers you require.
Q: I understand that the Bermuda government owns beaches and other facilities, and periodically places these properties out to bid to be managed by individuals. Where would I go to request or view this bidding process and collect more information?
A: The Bermuda Government offers exclusive concessions to those individuals who meet the criteria for managing such facilities. This process is managed by the Parks Department, which can be contacted at 441-236-4201 or P.O. Box HM 20, Hamilton, Bermuda HM AX.
Q: What is the procedure for a small business that will run mostly online with no storefront, just a website selling product?
A: Before you start your website/e-commerce business, there are a few things that you will need to accomplish. First, review the Four Compulsory Employee Benefits information sheet to see if they apply to you. If they do, then you will need to comply with these obligations before you do anything else. Next, contact the Ministry of Telecommunications & E-Commerce at 441-292-4595 to ask if you require anything specific to accomplish your website objectives.
There may be a few other items that you may want to consider depending on your business idea. Feel free to give us a call at 441-292-5570 for an appointment, so that we can discuss your idea further.