Bermuda is in a very unique position and today i wanted to bring to your attention some observations about the island and a specific opportunity that I see arising in the current economy.
For the majority of the last five years I have been off the island but I have kept an active watch on the current news and happenings in Bermuda, particularly in the business arena. From my observations, our small island finds itself stuck between two economic race horses. On the one hand there is the struggling tourism industry, which faces competition from locations which offer similar services/attractions at far lower prices. It appears that our economic development over the past 30 or 40 years was a double edged sword because as our standard of living greatly increased so did the prices of our products!
Then on the other hand we have the international business/re-insurance industry which has thrived over the last 20 years to surpass tourism as our main economic industry. Although this sector appears to be steadily growing and expanding into different business lines, I believe there could be problems with sustaining Bermudian job growth in the foreseeable future. These are some serious issues facing the island but these things can easily be observed reading the newspaper or walking around on Front Street. So now I would like to present a possible business opportunity for Bermuda.
I won’t be able to delve into this opportunity extensively in this post but I can give a brief summary about some of the thoughts I had. You have all seen the technological advancements and innovations that have occurred in the world these past few years. The internet in particular has changed all spheres of influence over our lives from business to politics, entertainment to sports and communication, to personal relationships. These changes have included all segments of society and have been faster and more disruptive than almost any other human development in recent time. You are just as likely to see your grandmother on Facebook as your younger niece!
Bermuda has not been immune to these developments and has actually embraced much of these innovations firsthand. Bermuda has one of the highest internet users as a percentage of the population and among the younger generation I know there are some people with specific skills adept at social media and other online business pursuits. In short I believe Bermuda could become the next start-up center and technological innovation hub of the world akin to Silicon Valley (where Google, Amazon and Facebook all had starts), if not on a smaller scale.
For a start, Bermuda can lend itself as the go-to spot for team building exercises of early stage startups. For example, say we have a startup called “Loquat”. “Loquat” was founded in 2012 in Brooklyn, New York and has a small team of 9 employees. They recently secured a Series A funding round of $2M so they are a little bit past the bootstrapping stage and can spare some expenses. We can approach this company and bring their team to one of our hotels or guest houses for a week of team-building. They can still do work as all they would need is a fast internet connection.
As our infrastructure improves and reputation grows as being startup friendly we can offer satellite offices to these startups. Going back to the example, let’s say “Loquat” has a messaging product similar to Whatsapp or Instagram. They would benefit of having a satellite office in Bermuda because it could be used as a controlled testing environment for new products or features. “Loquat” might be experimenting with a new way to send picture messages so they can test this new feature on the island then collect feedback from locals on the pros and cons of the service. Young Bermudians are very familiar with new apps and this could be a beta testing environment before they launch that new product or feature officially.
There are some reasons why I think this is possible that I will discuss in later essays.
Please let me know what you think in the comments section below or reach out to me on twitter @jahde!Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in