A Cayman brand of wigs and hair extensions, an aerial photography firm and a gym equipment mechanic were among the niche businesses displaying at the Small Business Expo on Saturday.
Officials say small and micro businesses can be hothouses of innovation and job creation in the Cayman Islands and claim they have cut red tape and government fees to make it easier for entrepreneurs to get started.
Saturday’s event at the Family Life Centre was a chance for entrepreneurs to showcase their businesses to the public and learn more about some of the less glamorous work involved in running a company, through seminars on pensions, Trade and Business licensing and marketing.
Ryan Rajkumarsingh, director of the Department of Commerce and Investment, said, “It is very simple and easy to open a business in the Cayman Islands. People think it is difficult, but in fact it is the opposite, even more so because of the incentives in place right now.”
Among the exhibitors on Saturday was former Miss Cayman Stacy-Ann Rose Kelly, who has just set up her first business, Hair by Kelly Rose.
She said she had started up by bringing in wigs and hair extensions for her friends and is now establishing a Cayman brand, based out of Kyle’s Beauty and Barber shop, off Eastern Avenue. She hopes to tap into a growing market for women looking for hassle-free glamorous looks, using extensions made from real human hair.
“We are not the first to sell hair extensions, but I think we are the first to take it to this level of establishing our own Cayman-based brand,” she said.
Other exhibitors included AirVu, the first photography business that is licensed to use drones to capture aerial images in the Cayman Islands. The business uses the new technology to provide new perspectives, marketing its services to real-estate firms, among others.
Fitness Plus, a two-man operation specializing in the sale and repair of fitness equipment, was also demonstrating its products and services at the expo.
Floyd Baptiste, one of the founders, said the company had recognized a gap in the market for someone with the niche set of skills required to service a growing number of private gyms around the island.
Brothers Darion, Josh and Stephan Cotterell were displaying fashions from their YNC urban streetwear label. The brothers established the label based on Darion’s designs and are now selling online and through the 3fortyfive clothing store.
Mr. Rajkumarsingh said there were some exciting emerging businesses on display at the expo. He said many entrepreneurs had great ideas that they were passionate about but needed some support with the more mundane aspects of running a business, including book-keeping and regulatory and licensing requirements. He said the Department of Commerce and Investment was there to help them and encouraged anyone who needed support to call into the office at the Government Administration Building on Elgin Avenue.
Wayne Panton, minister responsible for the Department of Commerce and Investment, said government had incentivised small business creation by reducing the trade and business fees to zero for new small and micro businesses.
“This event is all about affording small business the opportunity to come here and demonstrate to the public the amazing products and services they have available,” the minister said.