Video: New Financial Programmes For Businesses

May 14, 2018 | 15 Comments

[Updated] Minister of Economic Development and Tourism Jamahl Simmons is holding a press conference this morning [May 14] at the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation, where Minister Simmons and BEDC representatives are expected to announce new financial programmes for small businesses.

We will have additional coverage later on and in the meantime the live video of the press conference is below.

Minister Jamahl Simmons press conference Bermuda May 14 2018

The Minister provided details on two recently approved financial initiatives to help the Island’s local entrepreneurs, saying the first is an increase to the BEDC’s maximum loan guarantee percentage – from 50 percent to 65 percent with a maximum dollar value of $200,000; and the second is the BEDC’s Debt Consolidation Micro Loan to assist entrepreneurs in accessing loan funds to pay off past debt.

Update: The live broadcast has concluded and the 12-minute video replay is below

Update 1.35pm: Minister Simmons remarks:

Good morning,

I am delighted, as the Minister of Economic Development and Tourism, to join with the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation [BEDC] in sharing some exciting news on two recently approved financial initiatives that will help the Island’s local entrepreneurs.

  • 1. The first is an increase to the BEDC’s maximum loan guarantee percentage – from 50 percent to 65 percent with a maximum dollar value of $200,000. This addresses a long standing barrier for many entrepreneurs to access bank loans thus closing the gap created by a lack of collateral to secure bank financing. This change allows those with the idea but without the means, to have the opportunity to gain access to capital and fulfill their dream of becoming an entrepreneur.
  • 2. Our second new initiative is the BEDC’s Debt Consolidation Micro Loan, to assist entrepreneurs in accessing loan funds to pay off past debt. For years, local entrepreneurs have spoken of the challenges they have experienced in getting the capital needed to start-up, sustain, or grow their local businesses. Bermuda is a costly place to live and do business and without the proper channels of support, some entrepreneurs have been forced to operate below their true potential or even forced to shut down. Our entrepreneurs told us that a Debt Consolidation Micro Loan program would be a tremendous help, allowing them to consolidate small debts, reduce their carrying costs, and thereby increasing business cash flows. The BEDC and the Government have listened and taken action.

This new program will provide assistance to existing businesses by consolidating business back debts between $5,000 and $20,000. In order to be eligible, the back debt must have been accumulated within the last 3 years. Business owners must also have evidence of back debt related payment plans and/or evidence of attempts to repay as best as possible.

This will help business owners improve their credit, rebuild business relationships, and re-establish or grow their businesses. The BEDC has allocated a total of $200,000 to this micro loan product and loans will be offered up to a maximum of $20,000 each.

This product is available to both small and medium businesses island wide, including vendors and those businesses located within the three designated Economic Empowerment Zones.

BEDC’s mission is “to inspire, inform, support, and grow new and existing Bermuda businesses through education, guidance, data provision, advocacy, networking and financing”.

While not a bank, BEDC has the legislative authority to act as a guarantor for portions of bank loans for small and medium-sized businesses, which appear viable, and where the credit-worthiness of the borrower is sound.

This Government is committed to increasing opportunities for Bermudian entrepreneurs. That’s why we have committed to increasing BEDC’s funding. The Corporation now has the ability to increase its capitalisation from $1 million to $1.65 million.

This means they are currently able to write $9.9 million in loan guarantees up from $6 million, as they can leverage their capitalisation 6 times. It also means BEDC can increase their direct lending total from $500,000 to $825,000.

For the hard working, dedicated entrepreneurs on the Island, your Government has empowered the BEDC to better help you secure financing and sustain your livelihoods. It means you can continue to provide valuable products and services to the community, with the understanding that BEDC and your Government are in your corner.

I commend Erica Smith and the team at the BEDC for their responsiveness to the needs of our entrepreneurs and for their sterling efforts in working with the government to make doing for self a little easier for our people.

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Comments (15)

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  1. The Original Truth™ says:

    “second is the BEDC’s Debt Consolidation Micro Loan to assist entrepreneurs in accessing loan funds to pay off past debt.”

    Having incurred debt as an entrepreneur should not justify a government loan. Loans should only be given to those of good financial standing. You can’t make your own revenue then you are not an entrepreneur.

    • Smells Like EntreManure says:

      Jamahl,

      The reason many honest businesses struggle is because they are taxed to hell and they pay. However, other dishonest business persons know that if they don’t pay payroll tax, pension, insurance, or any of the other fees nobody will come knocking on their door. When was the last time ANYONE reading this story heard of someone being audited in Bermuda? Nobody is checking. Most businesses will never be audited.

      There are no real penalties for anyone that breaks these laws and nobody checking to see if they pay. Instead you just keep increasing taxes on those that are law abiding while rewarding those that pay nothing. Why should anyone pay? What is your government doing about it? Nothing! I’m sick of having to pay my share and MORE because the government needs more money and is not willing to collect money owed to them by those breaking the law. There is no reason that anyone should fear not paying.

  2. entrepreneur says:

    At the same time you are increasing the tax burden on us by removing the notional payroll tax option for small businesses

    • Anbu says:

      He doesnt care. I highly doubt jamahl even knows how these things work. He just does what he is told.

      • yesitsme says:

        You guys are not that smart at all. If you read and listened to the news you would realise that the whole tax conversation is being had now and solutions are being vetted to bring these costs down for the small entrepreneur’s. Conclusion jumpers.

        • Smells Like EntreManure says:

          You can’t take money from one place without asking someone else to pay more!

          What they need to f’n do is get off their butts and make everyone pay their fair share and not continuously asking a select few to pay more.

      • Dunn juice says:

        Like a wheel barrow, go where he’s pushed.. just look at our gaming, I mean what gaming.

  3. You got it says:

    He is just following the script. Reward losers and those who want a business but can’t make a profit. Might as well just call it a handout not a hand up for those who want to get into mainstream business or grow their business!

  4. nerema says:

    So when will they start wearing Bermuda colours rather than PLP?

    I have this fantasy that our political leaders could represent all of us rather than just the party they belong to. never going to happen with this lot though is it.

  5. Wahoo juice says:

    Can the guy who ran faith based tourism get a loan to repay the taxpayer? Oh wait….

  6. Stevie says:

    Got no clue. Period. Just another PLP lie.

  7. Up D Hill says:

    So THE PLP Government is now in the banking business. Oh my God! This will be yet another PLP epic FAIL!!

  8. Joe Bloggs says:

    “The Minister provided details on two recently approved financial initiatives to help the Island’s local entrepreneurs, saying the first is an increase to the BEDC’s maximum loan guarantee percentage – from 50 percent to 65 percent with a maximum dollar value of $200,000; and the second is the BEDC’s Debt Consolidation Micro Loan to assist entrepreneurs in accessing loan funds to pay off past debt.”

    Ok, where are the “details” please? Where is the economic assessment? How many jobs will be created? What is the performance/write-off expectation on the loans to local businesses? How will this benefit Bermuda?

  9. Cat Among The Pigeons says:

    Refinancing debt to get somebody out of the proverbial soup is not a good idea. It is far less likely to create new capital and jobs than perpetuate an already failed venture. This money might be more wisely used to encourage broader shareholding’s in proven ventures. By way of example, it would be nice to think that in his magnamity Mr. Michael Dunkley, aka Milkman, would welcome a broad spectrum of shareholders into his dairy cum wholesaler. Or perhaps Mr. Jim Butterfield might consider an employee stock plan over at Butterfield and Vallis? Taking it one step further, maybe the descendants of Mr. Edmund Gibbons would consider similar steps. Certainly Mr. Grant Gibbons with his years of public service would be ideally suited to this task. I would have liked to have mentioned Trimmingham Bros but Mr. Phil Butterfield in his former role at HSBC dealt with them already and in the proper way rather than a Government handout that some now look set to seek.

  10. San Patrick says:

    As long as Premier Burt is polling at 69% the critics need not worry. He could just as well be Mike Dunkley to the reluctant next election voter.

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