Good afternoon media and listening public,
I want to thank the Minister for inviting me to be present at this press conference today.
In the past the BEDC was delegated by the Government to be the lead agency to work with and advocate for small and medium-sized construction industry businesses through its Small Business Construction Incubator (SBCI) and Hands Up Empowerment (HUE) Programmes.
The Small Business Construction Incubator, Phase 1, was a 16-week programme designed to provide education and business acumen for entrepreneurs in the construction industry.
Phase 2, The Hands Up Empowerment programme was created to support those SBCI graduates with contract management skills and to better position these entrepreneurs to take advantage of the
opportunities afforded them through public and private sector initiatives.
Ninety entrepreneurs, in all construction disciplines – contractors, masons, carpenters, electricians, plumbers, painters, welders, truckers, excavators, HVAC professionals, and administrators – completed the programme over the 4-year period that it was in operation resulting in millions of dollars in contracts being awarded to those graduates.
Part of the success of the programme was due to an established working relationship with the Government, specifically, the Ministry of Public Works. The goal of the Government at the time, was to increase the pool of contractors equipped with the capacity to provide competitive bids and services to facilitate public sector projects. That goal was met and now the BEDC is again willing to support the Ministry of Public Works by reviving components of our SBCI and Hands Up Empowerment Programme to further assist this Government’s objective of pre-qualifying small contractors to enable them a better chance at successfully bidding on and winning public-sector contracts.
BEDC is pleased to be able to partner again with the Ministry of Public Works on this current initiative, the Construction Stimulus Programme, and the first step is to get small and medium sized businesses pre-qualified with the Ministry.
BEDC’s involvement will be led by our Director of Economic and Cooperative Development, Mr. William Spriggs. William will be responsible for working with entrepreneurs in the construction industry to help them understand what is required to submit the best information for pre-qualification.
It is anticipated that this will involve promotion of the opportunity through BEDC’s extensive network, hosting information sessions, developing how to tutorials and guidance, and ultimately individual meetings with small and medium businesses, as necessary, to walk them through the process and advise on their submissions. As we have found that small businesses need the most advice and support, we will especially be focusing on support to them.
We will work closely with the Ministry of Public Works to refine requirements to meet the primary goal of building a database of fully vetted entrepreneurs in the construction industry, that are pre-qualified, to support public sector projects.
In closing, BEDC, through this initiative, will continue to support and assist those small and medium-sized business owners in the construction industry to ensure that they are equipped with the tools necessary to compete in this 21st century public and private market. Ultimately when more providers enter the market it benefits both the businesses and the public because there are more qualified professionals to select from, further distribution of spending, and more businesses able to employ more Bermudians.
Any small and medium businesses in the construction industry desirous of assistance from BEDC to ensure their submissions to the Ministry of Public are top notch for pre-qualification, please contact us at [email protected] or call 292-5570.