Cayman Enterprise City wins Americas Free Zone of the Year

Cayman Enterprise City’s Chief Development Officer Cindy O’Hara; Chief Executive Officer Charlie Kirkconnell; and Maria Phillip, Vice President of Client Experience & Operations.

Cayman Enterprise City has been recognized as 2018’s most promising free zone in the Americas for small and medium-sized investors. In the annual search for the world’s best free zones, the jury from fDi Magazine, part of the U.K.’s Financial Times group, awarded CEC with commendation for “Workforce Training & Development” and as “SME Winner: Americas.”

“This year saw some incredibly strong entries in each of the categories of the fDi’s Global Free Zone Awards. We are honored that the CEC project has been identified as the most promising SME free zone in the Americas and has been recognised for our efforts to support the next generation to pursue innovative technology jobs of the future – jobs that are increasingly becoming available within Cayman’s special economic zones,” said CEO Charlie Kirkconnell.

“These internationally recognized awards are a testament to the success of CEC as well as the strength of the jurisdiction.”

In total, the judging panel evaluated 79 entries from across around the world and selected winners based on performance over the past year on elements such as the percentage increase in tenants, growth, facilities, and the implementation of new incentives that give the free zones a competitive edge.

With a dedicated government authority, licensing fee concessions and guaranteed fast-track processes, CEC enables international companies to quickly and efficiently establish a Cayman Islands office, which in turn allows them to generate active business income within a tax neutral environment, CEC said in a press release.

To date, the CEC development project has contributed an estimated US$155.16 million in direct and indirect spending to Cayman’s economy. Last year alone, CEC contributed an estimated US$41.56 million. The 2017 figures were 9.4 percent higher than in 2016. In April 2018, a $39 million-dollar plan for the first phase of a new 53-acre campus was approved by the Central Planning Authority and in September 2018, CEC welcomed their 250th company to set up a physical presence in the Cayman Islands.

Cayman Islands Government Minister of Commerce, Planning and Infrastructure Joseph Hew congratulated the CEC team on the award. “Given the well-regulated and structured environment which the Cayman Islands is committed to provide, I am very happy that our performance, though CEC’s efforts, is regarded as being the best in the world. The Ministry of Commerce looks forward to continuing to work closely with CEC to identify and attract global leaders, start-ups and entrepreneurs to establish a physical presence in the Cayman Islands,” he said.

Since inception, CEC has been working alongside the Cayman Islands government through the Enterprise Cayman initiative which actively supports young Caymanians, including those who wish to re-tool for a career change and acquire the skills they need to fill the jobs that are being created within Cayman’s three special economic zones – Cayman Tech City, Cayman Commodities & Derivatives City, and Cayman Maritime & Aviation City.

For the past six years, CEC has welcomed students and recent graduates to participate in the “Summer in the City” internship program, which connects students with industry professionals and concludes with an annual networking event. This summer, CEC assisted in the expansion of the University College of the Cayman Islands STEM Summer Camp, which offered a week of immersive STEM activities for aspiring scientists, inventors, mathematicians, engineers, entrepreneurs and leaders. Additionally, the initiative facilitated training sessions in partnership with the National Workforce Development Agency, offers coding workshops, promoting STEM careers through school presentations and hosting an online jobs portal.

“We work hard to achieve excellence in every aspect of our service and continually strive to provide quality experiences for our clients and engaging opportunities for young Caymanians who wish to pursue technology-driven careers. Our goal is to ensure not only that CEC continues to grow, but that the local community directly benefits from CEC’s positive development,” Mr. Kirkconnell said. “These awards reaffirm CEC’s positive impact, which is helping to diversify Cayman’s economy and provide a world-class platform for innovative businesses to flourish.”