Welcome to the BEDC corner; here, you will get a chance to meet the dedicated members of our team and Board. We will share our thoughts on entrepreneurship and what it means to provide support and help you build your dreams.
This month we feature Erica Smith, Executive Director.
- What excites you about entrepreneurship?
Entrepreneurship excites me because entrepreneurs are essentially problem solvers who provide a product or a service to fill a gap or meet an opportunity. I passionately believe that the world’s most challenging problems will be solved by entrepreneurs and people with an entrepreneurial mindset and the same in true in solving Bermuda’s challenges. Our island has some incredible and innovative entrepreneurs who create businesses which create jobs and fuel our economy. Without someone creating an enterprise there are no jobs. It is also exciting to see someone’s idea successfully come to life through their blood, sweat, and tears.
- What advice would you give to someone who is trying to become an entrepreneur?
Do as much research and preparation as you can and take calculated risks based on that research and preparation. Truly understand who your ideal customer and your customer market is – not every person is your customer, and it is important to know that. Do not keep your business idea close to your chest – sharing exposes you to opportunities and those who may wish to support you or invest in your business, but you will never make those connections by not sharing. There are very few unique business ideas in the world, but the key is that although many people may have the same idea, the secret sauce is you – no-one can execute your business like you – you are the differentiating factor. Lastly, learn from failure and look at it as an opportunity – it can help your next venture become even better because you learn what not to do ever again.
- What is your role at BEDC?
I am honoured and privileged to lead the team at BEDC as its Executive Director, having been in that role since 2014, transitioning into that role after being BEDC’s Director of the Economic Empowerment Zones Agency from 2009. Although technically the Executive Director, I consider myself to be a mere team member collaborating with my colleagues at BEDC to grow Bermuda’s entrepreneurial eco-system and I recognize that I cannot do it by myself. My team at BEDC is integral to my effectiveness and ultimately BEDC’s effectiveness and although I might be a little biased, we have an incredible team.
- What is the best part about being a member of the BEDC team?
Being surrounded by a team of creative problem solvers who complement and support each other every day and I find immense pride knowing that we collaborate well together, and we reach solutions and strategies collectively. The BEDC Team and the Board are amazing! There is a wealth of and variety of knowledge, experience, and entrepreneurial talent from which to draw from, and because of that each day is an adventure.
- What role does entrepreneurship play in the future of Bermuda?
During Covid-19 Bermuda’s entrepreneurs rose to the challenge to persevere, pivot, be creative, and innovatewith the singular goal to continue to serve consumers. As we move post Covid-19, entrepreneurship will be the key to solve some of the challenging issues Bermuda is facing. Bermuda’s local SMEs fuel our economy by providing key products and services which sustain our everyday lives. If each of us stop for a minute to consider how we personally engage with entrepreneurs and businesses daily, and then consider how our lives would be impacted if they were not providing our needed products or services, we would then understand the significant contribution they make to our economy. Entrepreneurs have proven that they can solve the world’s most complex problems and Bermuda’s growing entrepreneurial eco-system provides a vibrant base for local and international entrepreneurs, start-ups, and established businesses to do that for Bermuda and beyond.
- What trends have you noticed emerging within Bermuda’s Entrepreneurial Landscape?
In a post Covid-19 world, some key trends have emerged and with that, opportunities for entrepreneurs and business owners to seize. In my humble opinion, the following opportunity areas are things I think all entrepreneurs should consider as they look to establish a new business or grow their existing business:
- Embracing technology and virtual experiences – businesses that do not embrace technology in some way will be leaving opportunities on the table
- Innovation in delivery of products and services to consumers – consumers have become busier with competing priorities and so desire “just in time” products and services at a snap of their fingers
- Creative utilisation of spaces outside of buildings – Covid-19 has proven that consumers want to enjoy curated and creative experiences outside and this trend is continuing
- New ways of working and the world of work – hybrid processes and hybrid engagement are here to stay and businesses that do not adjust to this will be left behind
- Reuse of buildings – as employees and employers have embraced remote and flexible work, the need for physical offices has reduced presenting an opportunity to reuse this infrastructure in innovative ways from vertical farming to co-working spaces, to ghost kitchens, to a variety of housing, and so on
- Growth in the health and wellness industry – from telehealth to medical tourism and provisions for an ageing population, the entrepreneurial opportunities evolving in this space is exciting to see