Non-profits benefit from Ignite experience – The Royal Gazette


Updated: Jul 22, 2022 08:13 AM

Ignite Bermuda is best known as an entrepreneurial accelerator but the programme also seeks to positively impact the island’s not-for-profit community.

Already, ten not-for-profit organisations have completed Ignite’s free, five-month core programme that focuses on building an entrepreneurial mindset as well as useful start-up tools that have been proven to serve community leaders well for many years to come.

Now, not-for-profits are being encouraged to apply for inclusion in Ignite’s sixth cohort, which will begin in October.

The application deadline is Friday at 5pm.

Sean Reel, executive director of Ignite, said: “As the community rebuilds and recovers, the challenge for the charity leaders has never been greater.

“At Ignite, we believe that investing in the community leaders’ skills is critical to the future of Bermuda.

“Bringing commercial and social leaders together creates a transfer of skills and a stronger network for collaboration and fundraising.”

Patrina O’Connor-Paynter, managing director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Bermuda, has completed Ignite.

She said: “The Ignite programme was great personal development for me as a non-profit leader. I learned a lot about myself and my management style, including things I needed to improve on.

“Combining the non-profit leaders and entrepreneurs was awesome as we were able to learn from and bounce ideas off each other.

“BBBS made some really good connections with the entrepreneurs in my cohort. Since then, we have partnered with a few of them, which has benefited our BBBS children.

“I encourage others to sign up and get involved; you will gain personal growth and make connections that can help you to take your business or charity to the next level.

“However, you only get out of it what you are willing to put in.”

Deborah Titterton Narraway, chief marketing officer at Bermuda Cancer and Health Centre, said: “My Ignite experience was a little different. I was not an entrepreneur launching my dream, nor was I the executive director of the not-for-profit I was representing.

“Initially, it was easy to see and apply the lessons we were given and the tools provided to my personal life. However, I struggled to see the benefit to the charity when I wasn’t the final decision-maker.

“But the programme is more than lessons and tools; it focuses on people. My advisor continually challenged the status quo by flipping every scenario around and providing me with opportunities and conversations that challenged the business, as I knew it.

“My mentor stripped away the ‘hurdles’ I presumed were in the business world by asking me to shift and continually try another avenue. Then there were all the other participants, brilliant minds with amazing ideas and approaches.

“Unfortunately, due to Covid, we were not in-person as often as we would have liked but these sessions were like feeding grounds for growth and support. People were hungry to get their businesses off the ground but also vested in sharing experiences and ideas that could assist others.

“As a marketing professional, it became clear that my role or take from the programme was to be an influencer, not in the traditional sense of leading someone to believe something they might not have but by opening doors and questioning why we have to play in the sandbox, when there is an ocean around us.”

The online application is open now.

www.ignitebermuda.com

Sean Reel, executive director of entrepreneurial accelerator Ignite Bermuda (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

Patrina O’Connor-Paynter, managing director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Bermuda (Photograph supplied)

Deborah Titterton Narraway, chief marketing officer at Bermuda Cancer and Health Centre (Photograph supplied)

Patrina O’Connor-Paynter, managing director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Bermuda (File photograph)



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