Getting your paperwork in order

Small and medium enterprises form
the backbone of the economy in many countries. In Cayman a very large percentage
of the workforce is employed in businesses that can be classified as such.

However, even though encouraging
the growth of small business is vital to the economy, these have to be properly
regulated. This is accomplished through requiring the relevant licences and
permits to be granted before a company can get off the ground. Depending on the
nature of business and the ownership thereof, a number of different permits may
be required.

When starting a business,
navigating the administrative requirements linked to getting a business off the
ground can be frustrating. However, knowing what you need, when you need it,
and who to speak to can make the process a little bit less frustrating.

According to Renee Rankin,
assistant secretary of the Trade and Business board, the most important thing
for prospective business owners is to submit their documentation far enough in
advance of the intended launch of the business.

“Generally the processing time for
new applications can take anywhere from two to four weeks depending on the
current work load providing the application is duly completed,” she said.

However, as mentioned by Rankin,
this is only the case when the application has been completed to the
satisfaction of the board. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. said Rankin.

Depending on the nature of the
business, the board may require a number of other licences or permits to be
issued by other government entities.

The Department of Environmental
Health has to deal with numerous proposed businesses that may have an impact on
public health. The business licensing board requires an inspection of the
proposed premises to be conducted by the department before a business licence
can be issued.

According to Tania Johnson, public
education and promotions officer with the department, it is vital for small
business owners to make contact with the department early on.

“I would recommend that the come to
DEH during the planning stage even though we have a lot of owners coming to us
after they have fitted out their business,” said Johnson.

Waiting until the licence is
required before contacting the department can lead to unnecessary expense and

“Problems usually arise when people
wait to contact DEH at the end of process [when applying to Trade and Business]
instead of consulting DEH when they are in the planning stages. If people
contact DEH when they are planning to open a business, then they would know the
requirements which helps prevent delays and unnecessary expense when changes
have to be made,” said Johnson.

Getting the process under way is
relatively straightforward.

“The owner of the business would
come to the office and fill out a form with the contact info and nature of
business. The office will arrange a time to meet and inspect premises. If there
are any recommendations, they will make it to owner at that time. Once all the
requirements have been met, DEH will write a letter recommending the [trade and
business licensing board] grant the licence,” she said.

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