TUESDAY, OCT. 9: On Monday, October 1, 2012, KPMG and the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation (“BEDC”) hosted an informative and interactive Forum to introduce the BEDC’s new medium-sized business initiatives, and also discuss topics relevant to these companies.  The Forum was well attended, with a diverse group of over 40 business owners and executives engaged in providing relevant and insightful feedback to the challenges currently facing the sector.

The Hon. Patrice K. Minors, JP, MP, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry provided a welcome address to the participants acknowledging BEDC and KPMG for their commitment to support the local medium sized business sector as well as thanking attendees for their participation and dialogue citing it as a “vital partnership”.

Attendees were guided through interactive presentations from BEDC Executive Director Michelle Khaldun and KPMG Managing Director, Steve Woodward.  Mr. Woodward utilized international survey findings to highlight some of the issues that many family businesses faced.  He also illustrated a parallel between the three main themes identified in the international survey and the issues that were identified in the 2009 KPMG – BEDC survey conducted of local medium sized businesses. KPMG Managing Director, Craig Bridgewater was the final presenter summarizing the five key areas in need of attention highlighted by the Bermudian medium sized business survey: Managing through the economic downturn, Representation of the Sector on Economic Policy Matters, Business Succession & Transition Planning, Identifying Growth Opportunities and Supporting Expansion and Human Resource Strategies to recruit and retain staff.

Following the presentations, attendees broke out into five groups to discuss and gather feedback on each of the five key topics.  KPMG is currently consolidating the feedback from the represented attendees to assist the BEDC in the planning and roll out of business support initiatives to address some of the challenges facing the medium sized business sector. The feedback received from the attendees was positive, with one business owner remarking that he is “hopeful despite the economy and are looking forward to seeing what comes out of the forum.” 

Minister Minors who was present for the dialogue and participants’ feedback offered that “this forum is a positive example of the public-private partnership work being done to encourage the expansion of the economy through entrepreneurial activity and in particular to ensure that locally owned medium sized Bermudian companies are consulted and provided with the support to sustain and plan for growth during a challenged economic period.” She further stated that the forum was a continued effort on the part of BEDC to offer support to small businesses island wide, along with the work being done through the successful establishment and management of its Economic Empowerment Zones in N.E. Hamilton, Somerset and St. Georges. Noting that in each of the three established zones, there are medium sized businesses which provide the vital synergistic value to the surrounding smaller businesses; this value is not only impactful in the economically disadvantaged zones, the entire medium sized business sector is key to the country’s economic growth and increased employment opportunities for Bermuda.” The Minister indicated she is looking forward to further forums and resultant action.

*A medium sized business is defined as meeting at least three of the criteria: 1)Annual revenue of between $1.0 and $5.0 million;2) Maximum net assets of $7.5 million; 3) Annual payroll between $0.5 and $3.0 million; 4) Between 10 and 50 employees; 5) Bermudian owned and operated; and 6) Not dominant in their market sector.

Bermuda Economic Development Corporation (BEDC) is Bermuda’s premier source of free confidential business advice for entrepreneurs.  The mission is to serve Bermuda’s local business community with the highest degree of professionalism by providing, authoritative business advice; counsel and loan guarantee support.  KPMG is professional services firm in Bermuda delivering audit, tax and advisory services.  For more information on this Forum, please contact BEDC at info@bsbdc.bm  or KPMG at 295-5063.