The 2015 Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) Host Committee was joined by approximately 60 sponsors and dignitaries as well as aspiring young entrepreneurs at ACE Bermuda’s Chairman’s Suite on Monday to launch the Bermudian activities of this unique worldwide event.
Bermuda Economic Development Corporation (BEDC) Chairman Nicholas Kempe, who welcomed to the event Junior Minister of Home Affairs Sylvan Richardson, JM, MP, and U.S. Consul General to Bermuda, Mary Ellen Noonan Koenig, noted that Bermuda joins some 160 countries worldwide in celebrating entrepreneurship with close to 40 activities and events during the course of the next five weeks.
Mr. Kempe acknowledged the Bermuda Host Committee as the driving force behind the coordination of the month-long series of activities and events scheduled to take place during GEW. Joining the BEDC for the eighth year on the Host Committee is the Department of E-Commerce and the Youth Entrepreneurship Initiative (YEI). He also thanked the event sponsor, Bermuda Commercial Bank and host ACE Foundation.
Having attended the Global Entrepreneurship Congress in Milan, Italy this past March, Mr. Kempe stated that, “Bermuda was recognized as having the most events and partners per capita of any other country in the world.” He went on to report that two young Bermudian entrepreneurs E.J. Burrows and Connor Burns captured first place globally in the Future Agro Challenge held in Athens, Greece last year. “Bermuda has indeed swung well above its weight in showing the world that entrepreneurial activity flourishes on this small island.”
Following the welcome, Junior Minister Richards offered his personal encouragement to the young people in attendance to follow their passion as they step forward into their entrepreneurial adventure. He offered that he too had been an entrepreneur and understands the challenges that exist with establishing a business. He stated, “This initiative helps us to promote economic empowerment, workforce development and sustainable development, by encouraging entrepreneurship and innovation. I would like to encourage any interested entrepreneur, existing or yet-to-be, to take part in the many events planned for GEW and I thank the Bermuda Host Committee for organizing such a worthwhile event.”
U.S. Consul General Koenig noted that GEW was begun in 2008 by the U.S. based Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and that the U.S. State Department has been a champion of such activities in countries throughout the world. She expressed her support for the activities to be held in Bermuda and noted that the Consulate would be hosting an event on November 19th to recognise Global Women Entrepreneurship Day.
The event then turned to the first official activity for GEW 2015, the Youth Entrepreneurship Initiative’s Prizegiving for their 2015 BizCamp. Joe Mahoney, Executive Director of YEI and GEW Host Committee Member was joined by Junior Minister Richards in presenting certificates to the 40 teenagers who completed the intensive 7-day program held this past July. During BizCamp students learned about opportunity recognition, pricing, marketing and many other aspects of running a company and developed their own business idea. The audience was delighted to hear BizPlan presentations from 3 of the participants, Nphisa Smith, with Bermy Wormies, Aleah,Clarke, with Aleah’s Aftershool Tutoring Program, and Hally Teart, with Shake It Up.
Mr. Kempe was then joined by Erica Smith, Executive Director of BEDC in reveling in the extensive calendar of events, which can be viewed at www.gew.bm.
Said Mrs. Smith, “I am looking forward to this year’s Global Entrepreneurship Week as the team has managed to surpass the bar set last year in terms of events. If you are new to business or thinking about starting one you must take advantage of the myriad of educational, networking and promotional opportunities. This initiative serves as a celebration of those risk-takers that will lead Bermuda’s recovery.”
Mrs. Smith acknowledged and thanked all of the local sponsors and partners including: Department of E-Commerce, Bermuda Tourism Authority, Bermuda Commercial Bank, Bermuda Hospitality Institute, KPMG, Butterfield Bank, US Consulate General, Gosling’s, City of Hamilton, Ace, XL Catlin, Department of Parks, BPSU, Digicel, Department of Environmental Protection, British Airways, Kaplan University, HSBC, Chamber of Commerce, Bermuda Broadcasting Corporation, Today In Bermuda, Bermuda College, Department of Planning , PechaKucha, Bermuda’s Working Women’s Institute, Seniors Learning Centre, Red Bicycle, SociaLee Consulting, Bermuda National Library, Dare2Be/Community Driven Development, Centre on Philanthropy, and Mount Saint Agnes Academy, indicating“withoutthehelpandsupportofthesponsorsandpartnersGEWwouldnotbepossible.”
Mr. Rees Fletcher, Trustee of the ACE Foundation and Chairman of ACE Bermuda Insurance then offered his congratulations to the BizCamp graduates. He reflected on his experience as a BizJudge during the BizCamp by telling the audience, “We heard some excellent BizPlans today. These are but three of the some 35 plans that were created during BizCamp in July. I had the opportunity to serve as a BizJudge and I want to should tell you that these young people came up with some amazing business ideas. They ranged from an economics teaching game, which captured top honors, to a shake shop, a music tutor specializing in harp, a clothing recycling shop, to a tech gaming firm and a worm-composting business. I commend the Youth Entrepreneurship Initiative for what they continue to do to help young Bermudians learn about starting a business.” Mr. Fletcher then closed the event by thanking all those who attended.