Special economic zone raises annual economic impact estimate to US$55M

Cayman Enterprise City, Cayman’s special economic zone, said it increased its contribution to the local economy by 33% last year.

The special economic zone, which includes Cayman Tech City, Cayman Commodities and Derivatives City, and Cayman Maritime and Aviation City, generated an estimated US$55.3 million for the economy in 2018 compared with $41.56 million in 2017.

Cayman Enterprise City has released an economic impact report for each of the past eight years since the zone’s inception in 2011.

To date, the development project has contributed an estimated US$210.46 million to Cayman’s economy, consisting of $154.06 million in direct spending and $56.40 million spent indirectly, according to CEC’s own calculations.

In September 2018, CEC welcomed its 250th company to set up a physical presence in Cayman and become part of a growing community of knowledge-based companies, active predominantly in the FinTech, commodities, maritime, aviation, digital marketing, media and health science industries.

The direct spend of zone companies in 2018 amounted to US$41.04 million in terms of incorporation, registration and setting-up costs. This figure includes attorney fees, expenditures on office operations and real estate purchases.

Cayman Enterprise City estimates that the indirect economic impact, in terms of money spent by special economic zone employees reached US$14.25 million in 2018. This calculation is based on the assumption that the average zone employee makes a salary of US$90,320, half of which is spent within the local economy on expenses such as groceries, schools or entertainment.

In November 2018, Cayman Enterprise City began construction on the first phase of its 53-acre campus, which will ultimately house all zone companies.

In January, work began on the first $38.4 million phase of a 25‑year, $500 million master plan that will feature office buildings, residential areas, restaurants and amenities.

Cayman Enterprise City CEO Charlie Kirkconnell estimates that the zone will grow to more than 500 companies in the next five years, with about half of the companies expected to be technology-related businesses.