On Wednesday Nov 23, the Ministry of Investment, Innovation and Social Development confirmed that its business asset preservation grant program, given to tourism related businesses and administered via the Cayman Islands Centre for Business Development (CICBD), has concluded.
A successful innovative pilot program in September and October 2021 allocated through the CICBD provided vital support for Caymanian-owned businesses involved in watersports and land tour operations. Supplementary funding was approved subsequently by Parliament in March 2022 (*), and continued to be administered by the CICBD until its conclusion.
Initially, in the pilot programme, these grants were targeted specifically towards asset preservation for businesses involved in watersports and land tour operations. Similar support was provided for the benefit of other qualifying tourism related businesses including transportation and restaurants- all of whom were anticipating more sustainable levels of tourism following the re-opening of the borders in 2022. Over 400 businesses received this support, with approximately $7.5 million in funding distributed.
Commenting on the success of the program, the Hon. Minister André Ebanks said,
“At the conclusion of the Ministry’s asset preservation grant program, the Ministry is humbled that this innovative type of funding assistance provided a critical lifeline above and beyond the equally important stipend paid to tourism workers to replace personal income. With these grants, Caymanian businesses were able to pay to maintain or repair equipment, or make insurance or loan payments, since these and other costs continued to accrue regardless of the border closure. Nearly $7.5 million given in grants contributed to the survival of over 400 recipient businesses until the revitalisation of the tourism industry was underway.”
Ms. Tamara Ebanks, Acting MIISD Chief Officer, praised the administration of the program by the CICBD, stating,
“Since the very beginning of the global pandemic, the Centre has played a key role in the Government’s response to alleviating the economic consequences of a prolonged absence of tourism. I commend the Centre for administering the business asset grant program for nearly eighteen months, with excellent public service, accuracy and efficiency.” She added, “It truly is fitting that the Centre was honoured for its efforts at the Deputy Governor’s Team Awards event earlier this year.”
Ms. Althea West-Myers, Director of the CICBD, noted that the Centre has resumed its important and primary mandate, to build capacity in micro and small businesses in the Cayman Islands and to advocate on their behalf. Ms. West-Myers said,
“The Centre has turned its attention to providing other forms of business development support that are equally important to business viability. These include an array of workshops, training opportunities, business coaching, conducting business assessments and facilitating networking events. All of these are offered at no cost to participants,” said West-Myers. “We encourage all local businesses, entrepreneurs, potential mentors and investors to engage with us as we continue to build and enhance the environment for local businesses to thrive.”