Centre opens to support small businesses

Commerce Minister Joey Hew
Commerce Minister Joey Hew said the new centre will initially focus on business impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

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The Cayman Islands Centre for Business Development, which will provide support to small businesses across the Islands, especially during this current crisis, will open Monday, 23 March.

Commerce Minister Joey Hew announced the new centre at a press conference last week. “In response to the anticipated economic fall-out for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises from COVID-19, the Government, through the Ministry of Commerce will assist small businesses across the Islands to weather the disruption caused by the virus so that they can recover as quickly as possible,” he said in a press release.

“We are in discussions with the leadership of the Chamber of Commerce, the Cayman Islands Small Business Association, and other groups to agree on tangible solutions to assist our small and micro-sized enterprises to retool and repurpose in this new environment.”

While the centre has been established to support small businesses in general, the particular focus now will be on those businesses that are severely impacted as a result of COVID-19, he added.

The centre’s services will focus initially on business continuity training and coaching.
Hew urged small- and medium-sized enterprises with an urgent need for assistance with cash flow management, or business impact analysis, or those that need to redesign or rethink their business models to contact the centre.

Upcoming training and coaching sessions will include topics such as Smart Measures for Business Continuity, Best Practices for Handling Cash Flow Crisis, Contacting a Business Impact Analysis, Business Model Innovation and Social Media Marketing.

The training will also prepare small businesses to renegotiate existing loans with commercial banks or to request loan deferrals.

The business coaching sessions will be a pre-requisite for accessing renegotiated loans, the ministry said. The plan for assistance will also include the infusion of capital into the sector over which the centre will provide monitoring oversight.

As a result of current circumstances surrounding the coronavirus, staff members at the centre will conduct meetings with clients by appointments, via telephone or virtually.

The centre is staffed by director Althea West-Myers, senior business advisor and director designate Thais Ducent and business advisor Antoleen Williams.

The Centre for Business Development is located at Bay Town Plaza, 36 West Bay Road. To make an appointment, call 244-3451 or 244-2498 between 8am and 5pm, and 926-5771, up to 10pm.

Full coverage: Coronavirus

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