Local Business

Ignite launches second cohort

  • Igniting success: members of the Ignite Bermuda cohort with Ignite executive director Sean Reel, far left in second row, and manager Laura Lyons, front row, left (Photograph supplied)
  • Pitch winners: from left, Kristin White, Leanne Evans, Carl Vincent and Tallent Clark with Ignite Bermuda executive director Sean Reel (Photograph supplied)

Ignite Bermuda, the island’s first privately funded business accelerator, has launched its second cohort with a two-day boot camp that introduced participants to the five-month programme.

Some 33 entrepreneurs have been selected to participate in the cohort, nearly double the 17 businesses that completed the first Ignite curriculum in 2019.

Four members of that cohort have stayed on as resident advisers, taking to 37 the number of businesses in the programme.

Meanwhile, 42 entrepreneurs will take part in the “Ignite light” programme of monthly seminars and guest speakers. For the light participants, the benefits of the boot camp will be distilled into a two-hour session.

Three members of the current cohort participated in the “light” programme in 2019, while four are graduates of the Enterprise Bermuda initiative run by the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation.

Fifteen full-time jobs and 41 part-time positions were created during the first Ignite cohort, while the 17 participating businesses experienced overall sales growth of 35 per cent, which translates into an annual aggregate sales increase of approximately $1.23 million.

Launched in conjunction with UK-based curriculum partner Entrepreneurial Spark, Ignite offers entrepreneurs coaching and mentoring to provide enablement, a formalised curriculum to improve their skill sets, workspace to share and collaborate with peers, and access to a network of investors.

The business survival rate of 100 per cent marked the first time in the history of Entrepreneurial Spark that all businesses remained intact for the duration of a cohort.

The boot camp wrapped up with each business participating in a 60-second pitch competition. Four volunteer judges — Peter Dunkerley of Argus Group, Michael Veale of Butterfield Group, Jamillah Lodge of BEDC, and Joe Mahoney of the Youth Entrepreneurship Initiative — selected the top three pitches.

Tallent Clark of Rugged Rentals was the winner, with Carl Vincent and Leanne Evans of DropIt Delivery claiming second place, and Kristin White of Long Story Short in third spot. All three businesses received prizes from KPMG Bermuda.

Mr Dunkerley, chief financial officer of The Argus Group, said: “It has been a pleasure to host Ignite Bermuda in the Argus offices over the last year. The success stories coming out of Ignite show the entrepreneurs’ drive, passion, commitment and enthusiasm for not only growing their businesses, but for providing products and services to Bermuda of the highest quality.”

He added: “Argus congratulates all members of the new cohort for their selection to join Ignite and we wish them every success as they embark on their entrepreneurial journey. We’re proud of them and honoured to have the opportunity to be part of something very special here on island.”

Sean Reel, executive director of Ignite, said: “We would encourage the community to support these businesses as they grow and create jobs in Bermuda.”

Ignite says it seeks entrepreneurs from across Bermuda with a variety of ideas encompassing all sectors, from start-ups to small businesses looking to scale and grow in markets outside Bermuda. Creating jobs and diversity is part of its mission, the organisation said.

More information about Ignite can be found online at www.ignitebermuda.com. The online application portal for the next cohort will reopen in May.

For the latest developments, news, and application announcements, follow Ignite on social media @IgniteBermuda and @Ignite_Bermuda for LinkedIn

Participants in the second cohort

Jennifer Adams, Wavecrest

Cyniqua Anderson, Just Dreams Event Planning

Tracy Astwood, The Harvest Market

Alexis Bean, B.G.P.

Kumi Bradshaw, Honest Greens

Talibah Branch, Branch of Life

Doyle Butterfield, Gemstone

David Cahill, Crush Media (Bermuda) Ltd

Kim Caisey, K.I.M.’s List

Tallent Clark, Rugged Rentals LLC

Fiona Douglas, Care Connect Bermuda

Chris Faria, Agra Living

Darren Glasford, SYSTEMIZED

Martin Godet, Caboodle Store Ltd

Jason Gonsalves, AceBoy Sports Group

Davika Hill, Heart in Hand

Arianna Hodgson, Pink Onion

Donte Hunt, MEMORWIN

Gordon Johnson and Kelly Madeiros, Circle

Melissa Leach, Factor

Mathew Macdonald, Two Rock Wine Company Ltd

Kallie Marcus, Kinetix Natural Movement

Edward Mason, Core Live Ltd

Claire McDevitt and Therese Caroll, Healthcare Solutions Ltd

Kayuntae Ming, His N’Hers Hair & Beauty

Danielle Paynter, The NAB App

Kristen Scott Ndiaye, Read Incredibly

Indra Smith, B.O.S.S. (Back Office Service Solutions)

Andrea Sundt and Peter Lapsley, & Partners

Mikko Trott, Legitsu Academy

Carl Vincent and Leanne Evans, DropIt Delivery

Kristin White, Long Story Short and Kristin Dot Com

Thoslae and Taylor Williams, ELEVATE Host Services