The Government budget 2018/19 includes funding to support the small and micro business sector, emphasised Minister for Commerce, Planning and Infrastructure, Hon. Joey Hew at the formal opening of the Cayman Islands Small Business Association's headquarters.
Located on Mary Street in central George Town, the association has been functioning in the new premises since June this year. The new office also served as the venue of the CISBA's second annual general meeting on Tuesday, 7 November 2017.
Minister Hew, himself a small businessman, noted that Government looks forward to reducing fees for this sector as well as cutting regulations and red tape that serve no purpose or are more hindrance than help.
"Ours is a government that is keen to break down silos wherever they exist so we will also maintain dialogue with this association, the Chamber of Commerce and others, to ensure we are listening to your concerns and giving you the support you need to keep the wheels of our economy turning," he added.
Wishing the members continued success, Mr. Hew lauded the association for holding a number of micro and small business workshops and mentoring sessions since Government signed a memorandum of understanding with the body eight months ago.
CISBA President Dawn McLean-Brady noted that milestones achieved by the association included hosting three well attended small business expos; facilitating 17 workshops; organising eight business mentoring sessions; assisting 14 clients and launching their own website and Instagram presence.
Additionally, the association will publish a weekly column in the Caymanian Times and has partnered with Government and the Chamber of Commerce to formulate a small business strategy for the Cayman Islands, she said. The aim is to collaboratively assess and draft a strategy to address business challenges to small and medium businesses.
The strategy and corresponding action plan would provide a long term blueprint for a successful and stable economy and the growth of the small and medium business sector through increased start-up and other entrepreneurial ventures in the Cayman Islands, she emphasised.
CISBA intends to assist Caymanians in every phase of starting, growing and running a business, she added.
The CISBA President affirmed that other issues they would further dialogue with the Government include further customs fees reductions, greater financing for start-up businesses and the need for government programmes to reduce the turnover rate of small businesses, notably start-ups.
The association also seeks help with proper business planning to launch and management to run successful businesses which should provide a good understanding of overheads and the overall cost of doing business in order to survive and thrive. Another area to be addressed is better health insurance rates and structures for small businesses, she added.
Also in attendance at the opening were Chief Officer Mr. Alan Jones, Deputy Chief Officer Ms Tamara Ebanks and other officials from the ministry.
Dancers Soleyan Greene, Cassiedy Davis Quintero and Dejea Lyons, led by Artistic Director Ms Melisha McField, all from Dreamchasers Cayman, and Cayman's renowned steel pan player, Mr. Michael Lamay provided the entertainment.
Source: Cayman Islands Government