Global tech giants coming to Cayman for conference

Representatives from many of the world’s leading technology firms will attend a conference hosted by Cayman Enterprise City next year.

Premier Alden McLaughlin announced plans to hold the event, which will take place next April, during his address at the Chamber of Commerce Legislative Luncheon on Oct. 9.

“This event is a first for the jurisdiction and will bring [Internet Marketing Association] board members and some of the world’s technology thought leaders to Cayman for a series of meetings, tours of the CEC zone and industry networking events.”

The upcoming visit is a result of efforts of a Cayman Islands delegation, which included Mr. McLaughlin, that attended the Internet Marketing Association’s IMPACT14 conference in Las Vegas from Sept. 24 to 26.

While at the IMPACT14 conference, Mr. McLaughlin addressed an audience of more than 30 CEOs of global technology brands, including Google, Oracle, Adobe, Cisco and Microsoft. He said representatives of many of those same companies would attend the event in Cayman.

“Internet marketing is a new phenomenon that is just in its early stages,” he said. “The opportunities seem endless really.” Cayman Enterprise City CEO Charlie Kirkconnell said the event in Cayman would not be as large as the conference in Las Vegas, but would probably transpire over three or four days and include expert speakers in the industry’s thought leadership. He said no venue has been determined yet.

In advance of that event, however, representatives of Oracle will visit Cayman to learn more about the territory and Cayman Enterprise City, one of the results of a series of break-out sessions the Cayman delegation had with high-level executives during the IMPACT14 conference. Cayman Enterprise City said in a press release that it anticipates “much new deal flow” resulting from the delegation’s efforts at the conference.

During the Chamber of Commerce luncheon, Mr. McLaughlin said the Internet Marketing Association itself would be establishing a small presence in Cayman Enterprise City for its international business operations.

“This is good news for Cayman and Enterprise City and a good example of how partnering with the private sector can have positive, tangible results,” he said. “The trip and its outcomes are just another way to build up confidence and reputation, both of which are critical to inward investment.”

Permanent home

During his Chamber address, Mr. McLaughlin also announced that Cayman Enterprise City had purchased land just outside of George Town for its permanent location.

“I am pleased to announce that [Cayman Enterprise City] has acquired a 50-acre site that will become the permanent home for the CEC campus on the outskirts of George Town, just minutes from the airport,” he said, adding that the government was working with the company to complete an already-gazetted access road to the property. “More exciting announcements about the start of construction of the campus will be forthcoming.”

Launched in January 2012, Cayman Enterprise City is a knowledge-based special economic zone that offers various concessions to incentivize new business to set up companies in the Cayman Islands. The concessions include no restrictions on full foreign ownership of the companies, reduced, flat-rate work permit fees and expedited work permits and licensing.

Cayman Enterprise City’s business plan has always called for the construction of a permanent campus. Originally, it was announced they would build on a 45-acre site in Savannah. However, the start of construction was delayed and eventually the idea of building on that site was abandoned.

In the interim, Enterprise City received permission from the government to house its registered companies in several specified temporary locations, including HSBC House, the Breezy Castle building, The Grand Pavilion, the Mirco Centre, and more recently, The Flagship Building.

Cindy O’Hara, who has an ownership share in Cayman Enterprise City and whose company Design (Cayman) Ltd. will serve as the architects for the campus, said the design for the new campus will have to change out of necessity because of the topographical and shape difference between the two sites. The site in Savannah was on high ground, but the new site is in swampy land, which means it will have to incorporate a lake surrounded by filled land.

“Our challenges is, how to you create an inland lake that’s natural and not just a hole in the ground,” she said.

Once the road access issue is completed, construction on the campus will begin. Enterprise City CEO Mr. Kirkconnell said a formal announcement of the new site and building plans would likely be made in six to eight weeks. He did not specify the exact location of the site.

1 COMMENT

  1. So a Cayman Premier goes to Las Vegas, keeps his focus on business, and lands Cayman a prestige conference for next year with 30 blue chip technology companies.

    Well done Premier McLaughlin.

    Interesting contrast vs. a previous Premier, Eh?

  2. Great Work Mr McLaughlin, this will bring some well needed interest in the CEC Zone. However before starting the standard Bush Bashing lets remember that he was the one that worked to get the idea of Cayman Enterprise City off the ground against a wall of opposition from the folks on the other side of the table who said it was no good for Cayman including Mr McLaughlin. While I am glad that the current premier is working to keep this going, I’d still like to see some of his own ideas. A tax free Technology Zone will sell itself, Sorry but I won’t be impressed until the promised GT Dump Solution that they already had is revealed.

    It will also be interesting to hear where the new site is going to be, and how it’s neighbors are going to react.

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