Cayman Islands small business owners and budding entrepreneurs had the chance to attend Cayman’s first Caribbean Development Bank Small Business Conference, held at the Westin on 23 October.
With the input from representatives from the Cayman Islands Investment Bureau, the Cayman Islands Development Bank and several government ministries, participants took part in a workshop led by Portfolio Manager Peter Blackman and Investment Officer Kenneth Harvey of the Caribbean Development Bank’s Caribbean Technological Consultancy Services Network.
‘The strength of the CTCS network programme lies in the accessibility it provides to the man in the street by removing the bureaucracy blocking access to the training they need to get their business off the ground,’ said Mr. Harvey.
‘As business people of the Caribbean region’ he told attendees, ‘this is your program and you are entitled to it.’
CTCS Network is operated in cooperation with regional and national institutions, laboratories, industrial enterprises and consultants to bring experts together with small and medium-sized businesses to find solutions to practical problems they are encountering.
As well as providing direct technical assistance, the CTCS network also supplies technical information and runs regional and national seminars and workshops.
‘When Mr. Blackman came to Cayman last year on his annual visit, during our discussions he suggested that some of our customers would definitely benefit from this program, and that’s why we’ve introduced it here this year,’ said CIDB General Manager Ralph Lewis.
During the conference, participants learned about the CTCS educational and training offerings. Asked to identify the industries and business sectors they were interested in, they later branched off in discussion groups to pinpoint specific areas they thought required priority attention.
Along with some animated idea-sharing on developing business ideas for the Sister Islands, a sizeable contingent representing the agricultural sector was also able to gain some valuable insight from the event.
‘I thought the presentation was extremely informative and the CTCS definitely has a really impressive range of offerings for people in Cayman in the agricultural sectors, whether they are involved in agriculture directly, or in processing, or marketing,’ said the Ministry of Agriculture’s Brian Crichlow.
‘It is particularly useful for those who have already taken a business approach to their agricultural activities, as it will be that much easier for them to develop the skills they need to grow their business.’
Mr. Harvey agreed that bottom line considerations were what the programme is all about. Emphasising a fundamental need for proper business modelling and planning, he singled out the dramatic effect small investments in technology can have on production and efficiency.
‘We want to help people get a better understanding of some of the simple skills they can improve and the available technologies they can utilise so they can make more money – that’s what it comes down to,’ he said.