Hew unveils plan to boost Cayman small businesses

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Cayman Compass is the Cayman Islands' most-trusted news website. We provide you with the latest breaking news from the Cayman Islands, as well as other parts of the Caribbean.

In the coming months, government will introduce a raft of policy changes aimed at facilitating the development of the small-business sector, Commerce Minister Joey Hew promised at the Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce’s annual general meeting on Wednesday.

Government will streamline the process for obtaining and renewing business licenses in two phases, Mr. Hew said.

First, government will eliminate the requirement for business and trade license applicants to provide a cover letter, a business plan, strata approval and character reference, he said. These changes are expected to take effect by next month, he said.

The second phase will entail the elimination of bank reference and utility bill requirement for Caymanians, as well as the Department of Environmental Health and Planning Department approval requirements, according to Mr. Hew.

The minister also said government will remove the requirement to provide evidence of compliance with pensions and health, and the requirement to submit corporate documents. These will instead be accessed from the General Registry system.

Mr. Hew said this phase should be completed by the end of March.

The ministry of commerce is also making efforts to allow people to file their applications for license grants and renewals online, according to the minister.

“These changes are being developed as a part of an ongoing e-government initiative,” he said.

Additionally, government is renewing its micro- and small-businesses incentive program for two more years, which Mr. Hew said will allow those entities to benefit from reduced license fees.

Mr. Hew said that his ministry is also working with “key stakeholders” to establish a small business development center, which would provide technical and training assistance, professional business counseling and other services.

Chamber President Paul Byles touted the impending changes as a positive development for the business community.

“That’s something that’s very important to us, and it’s very pleasing – it’s been a while coming – I’m happy at the proactive and very energetic approach to this issue,” he said.

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