(CMR) As of Monday, September 6, the Cayman Islands Government has initiated a new type of support for local businesses in water sports and land tour activity.
The continued border closure since the end of March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly affected this 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.
Under this program, the Government will provide a monthly stipend of CI$750.00 over three (3) months to each business, irrespective of business size. The program will also assist with the maintenance and retention of the following types of assets related to land and watersports tour operations:
Boats (CI$1,250.00 each)
Jet Skis (CI$150.00 each)
Land Tour Buses (CI$475.00 each)
Horses (CI$375.00 each)
A series of detailed eligibility criteria apply to operators, as well as to the funds dispersed through the program.
Awards will be made in two categories: Business Stipend and Asset Preservation Grant. Awards will be based on the provision of evidence that the business is still in operation. For both categories of funding, applicants must provide evidence that the funds were used for business operations in order to qualify for remaining balances.
Applicants must also meet certain eligibility criteria. Business owners must be compliant in operations as stipulated under the Trade and Business Licensing Act and other relevant regulatory requirements.
Watersports businesses must be holders of Wildlife Interaction Zone (WIZ) Licenses. Land Tour
businesses must be holders of Tour or Watersports category Public Transport Unit (PTU)
Licenses, where applicable. Business must be at least 60% Caymanian-owned.
Business must have been in operation for at least one year prior to 1st March 2020 and must currently be in operation.
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.
The deadline for submission of the application form is Friday, 24 September 2021.
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.