When Cayman’s first special economic zone Cayman Enterprise City was launched, the initiative came with the promise of significant indirect economic impact that the new zone businesses and staff would generate. Some small businesses say they are already benefiting from the new client base of more than 100 companies.
“I have had a number of units rented from both business owners and employees in the zone,” said developer and landlord Stefan Baraud. “CEC has been a remarkable venture that has created new opportunities for developers, landlords and the like.” He believes that as the zone continues to grow, other local businesses will see the benefit.
Cayman Enterprise City’s Client Relocation Team is working with more than 120 local vendors and service providers in Cayman to facilitate the process of companies setting up in the special economic zone.
Zone companies were always expected to yield little to the government in terms of fees. But the companies use local providers for legal, accounting and banking services, as well as anything else they need to set up and maintain their operations in the Cayman Islands.
At the same time, the employees of zone companies are renting and buying property, and spending on healthcare, groceries, consumables, entertainment and more.
Paul Pearson, director of Davenport Development Ltd., said CEC has brought his firm some substantial business. “We’ve sold and built a $3 million home for a zone company owner and see they are also renting apartments and purchasing cars, etc., for their staff, so other small businesses in Cayman are benefiting as well.
“The CEC zone is definitely good for small local businesses, and we look forward to continuing to work with CEC and their zone clients over the coming years,” he said.
CEC Chief Executive Officer Charlie Kirkconnell noted that, as a member of the Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce and the Cayman Islands Tourism Association, Cayman Enterprise City is looking to work with both associations to ensure that as many of Cayman’s small businesses as possible benefit from the zone.
“CEC’s commitment from the onset has been to help boost Cayman’s economy, and we are determined to ensure that smaller grass-root businesses, as well as larger firms, benefit from this new source of customers,” said Kirkconnell.
Cayman Enterprise City estimates that the zone has injected more than $12.3 million into Cayman’s economy since opening in February 2012.
Irma M. Arch of Miracle Brokers International, who has worked with CEC, is optimistic that the impact of the zone will be positive.
“I support the concept of an economic zone within Grand Cayman,” she said. “The zone seemingly has the potential to attract many businesses to our shores as a result of our social structure and friendly environment. This can only enhance our economic development.”