Minister Hew Visits CISBA
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 recent introductory meeting 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 proposed 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."
About the Association: Following a Memorandum of Understanding between the former Ministry of Financial Services and Commerce and the Cayman Islands Small Business Association (CISBA), the association moved into its new location on 1 May, according to CISBA President McLean-Sawney.
Set up "to advocate for policies that are beneficial" to local small businesses as well as to support and promote "entrepreneurial spirit", CISBA currently has 120 members with 30 active members, and with over 100 women members, she said.
Activities this year include assistance given to seven clients on how to obtain financing and eight workshops held so far about how to start and run small businesses in the Cayman Islands.
Also starting on Saturday, 29 July 2017 is a 'Kidpreneur Train the Trainers' programme for individuals working with children in the community. The programme prepares trainers to teach children aged 9-17 about the entrepreneurial spirit.
Future events include management and marketing workshops that began 17 July 2017 and will continue through November.
More details can be obtained at the CISBA FB page. A website is currently being worked on, the President stated. The office telephone number is 345-946-3147 and hours are Monday - Friday, 10 am to 3 pm.
For further information contact: Bina Mani