The continued border closure since the end of March 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic has significantly affected the Cayman Islands' water sports and land tour activity businesses.
As of Monday, September 6, the Cayman Islands Government has initiated a new type of support for local businesses in this sub-sector.
Eligible Caymanian-owned businesses will receive a monthly business stipend and relevant asset preservation grant(s), initially over three months, to aid in maintenance and retention of assets, including but not limited to loan repayment, insurance, repairs, and servicing fees.
A series of detailed eligibility criteria apply to operators, as well as to the funds dispersed through the program.
Applications will be submitted for processing and approval to the Cayman Islands Center for Business Development - under the Ministry of Investment, Innovation and Social Development. As of July 2021, the CICBD has granted 2,253 grants in the amount of $8.5 million to micro and small businesses.
Hon. André Ebanks, Minister for Investment, Innovation and Social Development, explained that while the tourism stipend for individuals has been a lifeline, this new type of innovative business assistance is aimed at micro and small business owners to assist with maintaining the viability of their businesses and preservation of critical assets in this uniquely Caymanian-built sub-sector. "Water sports and land tour businesses are integral to the Cayman Islands' tourism offering and small business environment, and have significantly suffered the consequences of the many months of border closure," he stated.
Following the Finance Committee meeting last week which approved additional supplementary funding to assist micro and small businesses impacted by continued border closure, Minister Ebanks and the Ministry will be considering other types of micro and small businesses and developing criteria to receive similar financial assistance in the coming weeks.