“Building A State-Of-The Art Co-Working Space”

July 6, 2018 | 29 Comments

“Government is in the planning stages of building a state-of-the art co-working space for incoming industry players,” Minister of National Security Wayne Caines said, adding that the “purpose built facility will allow technology companies to domicile in Bermuda and have access to a premium facility with a plethora of services.”

Speaking on the Bermuda Fintech Innovation Hub at the OECD Roundtable on Digital Financial Assets in France this week, the Minister said, “In order to foster and facilitate innovation, and provide a platform for companies to get off the ground running once they set-up shop, the Bermuda Government is in the planning stages of building a state-of-the art co-working space for incoming industry players.

“This purpose built facility will allow technology companies to domicile in Bermuda and have access to a premium facility with a plethora of services at hand. Companies will have access to a co-working space, private board room, lounge areas, high speed internet, and concierge services,” Minister Caines said.

Technology TC Bermuda July 5 2018 3

This follows after the recent comments from start up company Arbitrade who claimed that “Government has purchased a building at Park Place for $4 million, and Arbitrade will be donating $1 million for the refurbishment and launch of that facility.”

“We will be donating $1 million to the Government’s new state-of-the-art co-working space, an incubator for the new FinTech sector,” the company added.

While all of Arbitrade’s statements have not been confirmed by local officials at this time, the Government did confirm that Arbitrade made a “pledge of $1.125 million to Bermuda.”

The PLP has stated on many occasions that part of their plan to grow the economy is to develop a technology hub, with the original plan being to have it located in Southside in the east end.

Their 2017 election platform mentioned developing a Technology Hub at Southside, the 2017 Throne Speech said that Government will issue a Request for Information to establish a Technology Hub at Southside, and last year the Ministry put out that RFI, and then extended the deadline to November 15th.

In a statement yesterday, OBA MP Michael Dunkley asked, “How have plans for an FinTech incubator gone from an RFI for a facility at Southside – the deadline for which was extended because of the amount of interest apparently shown – to a plan for Government to spend $3m?”

The Government previously commented about the co-working space at the Blockchain Town Hall held back in May, with Minister of National Security Wayne Caines speaking on the matter, saying the Government recently purchased a building in Hamilton, and the top floor will be put “aside for a co-working space.”

Speaking at the town hall in May, Minister Caines said, “So we want to set up an incubator where people can come to Bermuda with all of their ideas.

“Where they can come with all of their dreams, their aspirations, and we’re going to set up incubators, and there are companies in Bermuda that have been reaching out with their buildings, and they’re going to partner, and with their laboratories where people are going to be able to come and set up companies in Bermuda.

Extract from the Town Hall held on May 31 of this year where the Minister discussed the property:

“I received a call from a company in London last night and they said listen, they’re really excited in Bermuda, they’re going to set up the ICO, the fundraising element in Bermuda, they have already sourced a local law firm, but they said, ‘You know what? To see if I want to stay in Bermuda, do you have a place where I can actually just put three people in Bermuda just to see what ideas we can bounce off the people in the room?”

“The reason why the incubator is so crucial, because you can have 30 different companies in one room. Remember the old Silicon Valley? So if you have a room and you’re saying okay this works, or this doesn’t work, and you have 30 companies in a room, we believe there’s a synergy. And suppose with one or two of those companies become the next Amazon or the next Google. Well, we’re hoping they will stay in Bermuda.

“And so the incubator concept, the ICO, companies doing initial coin offerings in Bermuda, setting up exchanges. The next thing that the Government is doing that is actually flying is the incubator. Where you have a concept, you have something that you want to do, and you set up your incubator and you set up your team in Bermuda. And there are a few local companies that are doing it.

“The Government is doing something, the Government has recently purchased Park Place. That is the building right next to Market Place which IES used to be in if you’re going towards the post office, the building right next to Market Place. The Government has purchased that building which houses the Bermuda Housing Corporation at the bottom.

“The top floor, we have put that aside for a co-working space. A lot of people want to come to Bermuda and do business, but they don’t necessarily want to buy a building, or they don’t necessarily have the money to buy a space.

“We’re saying that you can rent two chairs, or you can rent, have your board meetings here, and that already before we have gotten off the ground, a company called and they said, ‘Listen, can we pay for that?’ It’s going to take us about a million to redo the building.

“A company called,” the Minister said. “We really like what you guys do, can my company sponsor and actually build this thing for the people of Bermuda. And so we see this space, we see that there’s a good bit of opportunity.”

While the building has been called ‘Park Place,’ the Minister referenced the Bermuda Housing Corporation being in the building, and BHC’s address is the IAS Park Building on 44 Church Street. We asked for further information and clarification about the building, cost, expected opening date, and will update if able.

Yesterday the Government noted that the Fintech Development Fund was passed in the Senate, and “when the fund is setup and contributions can be received, the Government will make such contributions public.”

“We are pleased that companies are looking to setup in Bermuda, planning to invest in building our Fintech industry and supporting community initiatives. The same way insurers assisted with developing our insurance industry while supporting community organisations over the years,” the Government said.

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Comments (29)

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  1. Question says:

    Why is the government providing private companies with working premises? Are these companies that can’t afford rent?

    • Madge says:

      So who are these companies ? and why are they a secret ?

      • Golly says:

        We have several of these shared office suites in Hamilton already and at least one more just outside of Hamilton. Why is government trying to reinvent the wheel? Why is government going into direct competition with these locally owned companies instead of working with them.

  2. Onion says:

    If Arbitrade turns out to be a fraud and fails to deliver on promises this will be a massive black-eye for Bermuda and the Ministers involved should resign.

    • watching #2 says:

      Sounds like another Black Mayors Conference

    • Retro says:

      If? They made an overnight decision to change the location of 10 billion dollars worth of gold from Dubai to Bermuda! There are no if’s about this.

      • sandgrownan says:

        Go check out their founder. It’s a very shady organisation.

    • Madge says:

      I hope the British Government are paying attention to all of thisbusiness deals.
      Maybe we need the Brits to come here and take over the Government like they did in the Turks and Caicos…….people here are getting restless.

    • Madge says:

      The Isles OF Devils….

  3. Jan says:

    Like all parties, this one will be great while it lasts – but what I’m really looking forward to is the Blame Game when it starts! Should be hilarious with these jokers.

    On a more serious note, it really is deplorable that home grown, up and running businesses are not given the time of day in this way – in fact they are thrown to the dogs every time some fast talking foreign carpet bagger show up.

    • facts of the rock says:

      the plp are NOT interested in locals except to get your vote with a green t shirt,when are you going to understand that!

    • Redrose says:

      I agree. And at the last count there was space for 4000 people in empty office space in Hamilton alone! This is typical of the splash the cash plp

      Ps will they provide a nice new place for my business?

  4. facts of the rock says:

    “I received a call from a company in London last night and they said listen, they’re really excited in Bermuda, they’re going to set up the ICO, the fundraising element in Bermuda, they have already sourced a local law firm, but they said, ‘You know what? To see if I want to stay in Bermuda, do you have a place where I can actually just put three people in Bermuda just to see what ideas we can bounce off the people in the room?”

    100% B/S.

    • Onion says:

      Sounds like one of Trump’s recollections.

    • redrose says:

      and why didn’t the Minister say ‘yes, I can put you in touch with some landlords and get something fixed’?

      • Joe Bloggs says:

        He did! Government is the landlord. Weren’t you reading?

  5. tuck says:

    This is a slush fund.
    There is massive empty real estate in Hamilton – there is no need for Gov to be setting up incubator space.

  6. Rocky5 says:

    The PLP GOVT is now competing with the Private Sector who can provide all these services more effectively & efficiently and at a mow price.

  7. Now What says:

    Laboratories?

  8. Johnny B says:

    Ok so when are the previous marchers going to march because the government is looking to bring is 1000′s of non Bermudians to work here?

  9. Onion says:

    There are already places to put 3 people in Bermuda. You don’t need a coworking space. Also, there are already serviced offices like Suite Solutions and Ninteen. Why is the government competing with private business?

    • archie says:

      because it likes to spend money …

    • Rocky5 says:

      Don’t forget Fairway Management in Cumberland House. Also It’s going to cost MILLIONS $$$ to fix up 44 Church St. It’s almost falling apart – needs new windows& doors/electrics & lights/air-conditioning/fire alarms/ceilings/carpets/plumbing/computer cabling/painting/drywall/plastering…., but dey’ll be able to catch um Gypsy Cab an pick up lunch ath Hamilton Marketplace

  10. Rocky5 says:

    So what happens if a Tenant (New Int’l Co.) get’s into a dispute with it’s Landlord (Govt.), about something like Work Permit holders vs. Bermudians? What WILL the Govt. do?

  11. Rock says:

    Bitcoin but no equality in Bermuda big recipe for disaster but money makes u blind

  12. Mumbojumbo says:

    Please be careful…fools rush in where angels fear to tread.
    Prepare a worst case senario
    Monitor this ship from stem to stern. Our reputation is at stake here.
    Reputation is like verginity once it’s gone forever…after that…you can only wear a tee shirt with cherries on it.
    ..and every body knows what that means..
    Then all that’s left is piracy…you gotta ask yourself…are you pirate material?

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