You might think the Cayman Islands is solely made up of huge multi-national corporations, law/accounting firms and conglomerates doing business on a global scale. The fact is that this couldn’t be further from the truth. Cayman may be a tax neutral international offshore business hub but there are over ninety thousand registered companies doing business here. Many of those businesses are small businesses such as bars, restaurants, dive shops, retailers and tourism-related companies. The Cayman Islands has a very robust small business sector.
About Cayman Small Business
The Cayman Islands has always been a friendly place for small businesses. The government on the island has done many things to facilitate the growth and prosperousness of small businesses and their owners. Our tiny island nation has robust copyright laws to protect intellectual information. There are also strong laws in place to protect digital media, artistic works, music and people and organizations that hold patents. There is also protective legislation in place for company registration/formation and safeguards for companies and the products they sell. Cayman also has SEZ’s or Special Economic Zones where financial and technical businesses can take advantage of even further protections and incentives. Cayman also has its own small business association called CISBA (Cayman Islands Small Business Association) that was founded under the Investment Bureau in 2009 to assist small businesses in liaising with government, setting up and running their operations and providing ongoing training/business tutelage support to ensure they survive and thrive.
What kinds of Small Businesses are there in the Cayman Islands?
There is a myriad of different kinds of small and micro businesses in the Cayman Islands. You can find anything from souvenir shops and clothing retailers to landscaping companies, local produce growers and mobile car washing services. There are of course bars, restaurants and nightclubs; but there are also micro businesses like roadside jerk stands and food trucks. We even have ice cream trucks that canvas the local neighborhoods for the kids. There truly is a little bit of everything – small business wise – in the Cayman Islands.
What is legally defined as a “Small Business” in the Cayman Islands?
According to the Cayman Islands Government a “small business” is technically defined as those businesses that are employing up to twelve employees excluding the owner of said business. Small businesses must also have an annual gross revenue that does not exceed CI$750,000 in the last fiscal year. Additionally, Small business owners with operations in the West Bay District and George Town District are eligible to receive a fifty percent price reduction in licensing fees. Those small businesses that are operating Bodden Town, North Side and East End are eligible for a seventy five percent reduction in licensing fees. Small and micro businesses operation in Little Cayman and Cayman Brac are also eligible for the seventy five percent fee reduction.
What do I to do to get my Small Business started?
So I want to get my micro or small business going in the Cayman Islands. What is the first step I need to do to get started? The first thing a small business owner needs to do is get a Trade and Business License. If you start selling lemonade by the beach without at “T&B” you will be breaking the Trade and Business Licensing Law and you will be operating illegally. So apply for your “T&B” and pay the CI$75 processing fee for the application. You also need to keep the Trade and Business Licensing Board informed of changes or growth in your small or micro business. These could include changes in your level of employees, moving your small business from its original location or if you experience changes in your annual revenue (gross). The government has many benefits, incentives and programs for small and micro businesses that play by the rules so make sure you remain in accordance with everything that applies to you and your business. For more information visit the government website here.
Small and micro businesses are thriving in the Cayman Islands and they are an integral part of our business community on the island. Now more than ever, it is important that when you are out and about in Cayman that you make the effort to patronize our local small businesses. Buying local and supporting small business has a trickle down effect that directly benefits locals and expats alike. Supporting small business is akin to supporting your friends, neighbors and the community as a whole.