Minister of Commerce, Planning and Infrastructure, Hon. Joey Hew, with ministry staff, met with the executive of the Cayman Islands Small Business Association on a tour of their new premises on Mary Street.
The introductory meeting on Friday, 7 July 2017 served for the Minister to meet the association executive and equally importantly, learn about the issues association members face. This in turn suggested the need to explore how the ministry can interact and work jointly with the CISBA to promote their welfare and arrive at solutions. Minister Hew also shared his experiences and lessons he learned when he was the former president of the CI Chamber of Commerce.
Minister Hew was accompanied by Ministry Deputy Chief Officers, Ms Leyda Nicholson-Makasare and Ms Tamara Ebanks, Ministry Policy Advisor Ms Thais Ducent. CISBA attendees were Association President, Ms Dawn McLean-Sawney, Secretary Ms Gina Lawrence, Director of Membership, Ms Antoleen Williams and Assistant Director of Membership, Ms Cheryl Al-Masri. Not present were Vice President Glenda Dilbert-Davis, Treasurer Mr. Omar Chambers and Director of Marketing, Ms Rosa Harris.
Giving him a tour of the new offices, the CISBA President and other 3 executive members highlighted some of the main issues association members face. These include inadequate funding, too much red tape, challenges in securing venues to set up businesses and challenges based on definitions of micro (1-3 employees) and small (4-10 employees) businesses in provision of employee benefits.
Members were also looking for opportunities to grow their businesses, including working with big businesses; more incentives including reduction in fees such as Customs and Trade and Business Licence fees; and encouragement for more women, especially single mothers, and retirees to be able to become small business owners. The CISBA President also emphasised the need for better concessions when obtaining loan financing so that repayment remains viable instead of setting up the small entrepreneur for failure.
Another idea aired was CISBA working with the CI Civil Service Association (CICSA) to offer a discount card for government employees to use among SBA member businesses.
After the tour, Minister Hew commented, “This was an excellent opportunity to hear about the challenges that our small business entrepreneurs face in the Cayman Islands. Government’s involvement, happily, does not end with merely providing annual grants to CISBA but also to follow their progress and jointly find ways to tackle and help find solutions to issues they face.”
(GIS) About the Association: Following a Memorandum of Understanding between the former Ministry of Financial Services and Commerce and the Association, the CISBA moved into its new location on 1 May, according to the CISBA President.
CISBA currently has members (can we get the exact number pls?) with 30 active members and over 100 members are women. Activities this year include financial assistance given to seven clients, eight workshops held so far and upcoming events include management and marketing workshops that begin 17 July 2017.
Minister of Commerce, Planning and Infrastructure, Hon. Joey Hew gets a tour of the CI Small Business Association conference room at their new premises on Mary Street in Central George Town, with CISBA President, Ms Dawn McLean-Sawney.
Commerce, Planning and Infrastructure Minister, Hon. Joey Hew with CISBA and ministry officials: seated, L-R: Minister Hew, CISBA President Ms Dawn McLean-Sawney and Assistant Director of Membership, Ms Cheryl Al-Masri at her desk; standing, L-R: Ministry Policy Advisor, Ms Thais Ducent; Deputy Chief Officer, Ms Leyda Nicholson-Makasare, CISBA Secretary, Ms Gina Lawrence, Membership Director, Ms Antoleen Williams and Deputy Chief Officer, Ms Tamara Ebanks; not present were CISBA’s Vice President, Ms Glenda Dilbert-Davis, Treasurer, Mr. Omar Chambers and Director of Marketing, Ms Rosa Harris.