Business Owners Network At BEDC Seminar

November 24, 2012

What do you get when you put business owners in a room with over 30 professional service providers? The answer is networking, inspiration, and strategies on how to achieve success despite the current economic climate.

Local business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs attended the BEDC sponsored 3rd Annual Business Networking Matters event titled Think Big: Growing Locally & Globally Now! on Wednesday [Nov 21] at the Fairmont Hamilton Princess.

The 4 1/2 hour event commenced at 4:00 pm with the Professional Service Provider Trade Show. BEDC Board Member, Mr. George Scott, opened the trade show which allowed entrepreneurs to speak with industry leaders on a personal level at over 30 booths.

It was an opportunity to gain information from various industries including Financial Services, Government, Insurance/Pension, Legal, Marketing/Advertising, Business Management, and Information Technology. Attendees gained knowledge all under one roof that might otherwise be cost prohibitive to many business owners. The vendors came out prepared to provide valuable information and giveaways.

At 6:00 pm the Minister of Economy, Trade & Industry, Patrice Minors, delivered a welcoming speech to the attendees of the “Think Big!” Seminar encouraging them to take advantage of the opportunity presented to them to meet people who may be able to help advance their businesses.

The seminar component featured local business owners that had expanded their business operations globally. Promoting products and services worldwide is a dream of many local business owners and they were excited to hear direct from those business owners that had achieved international success.

Mr. Steve Woodward, Managing Director at KPMG Enterprise introduced the seminar and set the context for the discussion with the 5 panellists. He spoke to the global economic issues for businesses and the top 5 needs of local businesses compiled from a survey KPMG conducted on behalf of BEDC.

Mrs. Antonia Holder, Asst. VP, Business Development of Freisenbruch Meyer Group co-moderated the interactive seminar with Mrs. Erica Smith, BEDC EEZA Director and organiser of the event.

The panel consisted of Mrs. Linda Horton, Mr. Randolph Stafford, Mrs. Isabelle Ramsay-Brackstone, Mr. Michael Branco, and Mr. Craig Tucker. Mrs. Linda Horton, owner of Horton’s Ltd. which makes the Original Bermuda Rum Cakes, provided the avid attendees with helpful suggestions regarding following one’s passion and developing a business from that passion, otherwise the novelty soon wears off finding yourself stuck with something you don’t want to do.

Mr. Randolph Stafford, owner of Stafford Flooring and Common Ground Cafe, offered that you don’t have to follow the crowd but you so have to work hard and be aware of opportunities that present themselves to you. For instance, opening a branch of Stafford Flooring in the Cayman Islands has allowed his Bermuda-based business to now access a market of 49 million Caribbean people.

Mrs. Isabelle Ramsay-Brackstone, owner of The Bermuda Perfumery which creates the Lili Bermuda fragrance advised that it is important as an entrepreneur to know who you are and who your customers are. She stated that you cannot be all things to all people but you can focus on the specific niche market that your product or service would be attracted to and leverage those relationships.

Mr. Michael Branco, owner of IT company Fireminds and its subsidiary Premier Tickets Global spoke to the world as his company’s marketplace. He felt that if local companies were outsourcing their IT provision overseas then he should play in that global market also and win business from his global competitors in other countries too. He also spoke to the importance of businesses knowing and understanding their finances down to the penny especially in these more difficult economic times.

Lastly, Mr. Craig Tucker, HSBC Bermuda Senior Relationship Manager provided insights into how HSBC supports locally businesses and through its international network they can work with viable local businesses to expand globally.

One attendee remarked that “it was great meeting and talking to vendors that they would not have spoken to otherwise”. Another indicated that ” the advice of the panelists was second to none.” HSBC Bermuda was Lead Sponsor for the event with Supporting Sponsorship from Freisenbruch Meyer Group, Capital G Bank, Butterfield Bank, KPMG, and United Airlines. The sponsors all remarked that the annual event continues to provide a great opportunity to meet new and existing clients.

Mrs. Smith stated, “BEDC will continue to facilitate the sharing of ideas for our clients and entrepreneurs through events like this that provide opportunities for exposure for new and established businesses. We are grateful for our sponsors coming on board. Without those companies who are all dedicated to growing entrepreneurship and enterprise in Bermuda, we could not have held this event this year.”

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