Burt: technology will be key to job growth

  • Our vision: David Burt, the Premier, hosted a press conference announcing Tech Week and encouraged residents to participate

Bermuda’s leadership in the development of its fintech industry can attract start-ups seeking to make the island a “domicile of choice”, according to David Burt.

The Premier urged local participation in the inaugural Bermuda Tech Week 2019 that kicks off next Monday: five days of “industry-driven events” focused on emerging technologies.

The summit, hosted by the Hamilton Princess & Beach Club, will deliver “insightful deliberations about the future opportunities presented by emerging and disruptive technologies”, Mr Burt said yesterday.

It has been organised by the Bermuda Business Development Agency in partnership with FinTech Bermuda, but Mr Burt emphasised that “technology is not limited to fintech”.

He added: “Technology, and not just fintech, will be important for Bermuda’s growth and development. Our vision is to have the island recognised globally as a stable and well-regulated location for all technologists and technology companies.”

So far the fintech sector has created “eight active offices with 31 new jobs”, he said.

But Mr Burt said the island could benefit from disruptive technological change in fields ranging from hospitality to financial services, telecommunications and insurance.

He cited legislation tabled last month for submarine telecommunications cables that could push the island as a digital hub in the Atlantic.

“We are looking to attract companies that are focusing on data to Bermuda,” Mr Burt said.

“There’s going to be persons from Google that will be here as part of the events next week. They’ve been here previously.

“There’s a wide range of companies that we’re looking to attract to Bermuda, to take advantage of a unique ecosystem of innovation.”

He added: “A lot of companies are attracted to Bermuda because of insurance. They are innovative technology companies which may have things like self driving cars that they’re figuring out how to insure.

“They come to Bermuda for insurance and they realise that our ecosystem is that much bigger than just insurance.”

Technology has emerged as one of the drivers of consolidation in the insurance industry, but Mr Burt said the island would still have to keep to the fore. People were nervous about the invention of electricity,” he said. “The fact is that we cannot stop the pace of technological change. The only way Bermuda is going to be successful in navigating that is if we embrace it and have companies here focused on providing these solutions to the world.

“Clearly, technology is going to result in automation, and that is something we are going to have to contend with.

“But the only way Bermuda is going to continue to be successful and have jobs that remain in the country is if we have those new jobs focused on support of AI, how you do compliance better, how can you handle the exceptions. Those are the jobs of the future.”

About 200 people have registered so far for Tech Week, with roughly one third coming from overseas.

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