The Department of Commerce and Investment held its Small Business Expo on Saturday. DCI estimates 700 people came through the doors at Family Life Centre between 9am and 7pm. The workshops were well-attended and attracted dozens of people. The session on the new Trade and Business Licensing Law was the most popular.

Below are the speeches for Commerce Minister Wayne Panton and DCI Director Ryan Rajkumarsingh.

DCI Director, Ryan Rajkumarsingh
Small Business Expo

9:05am Saturday, 18 April 2015 | Family Life Centre, Walkers Road, Grand Cayman

(Director's intro)

Minister of Financial Services, Commerce and Environment, the Honourable Wayne Panton, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen - good morning to you all and welcome to the third annual Department of Commerce and Investment Small Business Expo.

It's good to be here this morning, speaking about Cayman's small business community at an event that showcases an entrepreneurial spirit which is inherent in these islands.

We are pleased to highlight local small business owners and provide encouragement to all residents who dream of owning their own business. Being in business is not easy in an ever-changing financial landscape, but our economy pushes ahead with the presence of properly-run small businesses. This expo serves as a platform to encourage entrepreneurship and stir further competition as persons share their ideas, successes and concerns.

I encourage all of you to take advantage of the insight and advice available today at our workshops. From learning more about pensions, and business plans, to being better equipped to handle social media, financial planning and corporate social responsibility; there are many topics for discussion that will impact future business.

This is also an opportunity to gain a better understanding of the changes to Cayman's cyber space through the selling of the .ky domain name and the fundamental improvements in doing business here which will arise from the new Trade and Business Licensing Law.

That law has been a particular focus of my department in recent months, with my staff preparing themselves for the greater role they will play in the success of more small businesses. In a nutshell, that legislation will foster a better and more level playing field for local commerce.

I also urge you to stick around for our student pitch at 10:00am and the panel discussion, and networking reception scheduled for this evening. The panel will showcase a variety of small business owners sharing insights into the highs and lows of operating their businesses. The student pitch will highlight young people under the age of 21 with exciting, new business ideas and the reception will give exhibitors, sponsors and attendees alike a chance to network with their peers.

We feel all of the knowledge on offer today can assist business owners to be more confident in maintaining and advancing their own businesses. From the workshops to the panel discussion to the networking reception, we hope to create the connections needed for business ideas to flourish.

Thank you all for coming to the Small Business Expo, and enjoy discovering the diversity and quality of the products and services on offer by Cayman's entrepreneurs.

I also thank our sponsors for supporting small businesses and helping to make this event possible. Our gold sponsor is Hurley's Entertainment Ltd, our silver sponsors are the Information and Communications Technology Authority, and KPMG, our bronze sponsors are Cayman Enterprise City, A I Equipment Rentals, Cayman National Bank, Royal Bank of Canada, Dart Enterprises, other sponsors are the Chamber of Commerce and Radio Cayman and also a special thank you to the Government Information Services (GIS) for your support.

Finally, I wish to thank my department and all of the Ministry of Commerce staff who worked tirelessly to make this event happen. I now invite the Minister of Financial Services, Commerce and Environment, the Honourable Wayne Panton, to deliver his opening remarks.

Thank you.

Minister of Commerce, Hon. Wayne Panton
Small Business Expo

9:10am Saturday, 18 April 2015 | Family Life Centre, Walkers Road, Grand Cayman

(Minister's intro)

Thank you, Ryan, I'm glad to be here this morning. Today is all about small business – which means it's all about you, and about assisting you to make your endeavours highly successful.

But in order for this to happen, Government has to create the environment that nurtures your dreams and aspirations, so that they become reality. This is why we have passed legislation that will strengthen Cayman's overall framework for business, and it's why Government continues to strengthen the foundation for small business in particular. Many of you know that the world of commerce is evolving; you experience it in your daily business operations, as your circle of suppliers, markets, and inspiration grows. Government's recent actions to support small business, here at home, address this evolution. They are intended to enhance Cayman's reputation, on this rock as well as internationally, as a place with fair and effective business requirements.


One of the key ways in which Government is stimulating the current business environment is through incentives, which are designed for your benefit. After consultation with my colleagues, I can tell you that there will likely be an extension of the incentives for small-business owners that we rolled out last year. I'm sure you will receive this as good news!

Also, as Ryan mentioned in his remarks, the new Trade and Business Law is central to our efforts. Government is on the cusp of implementing this legislation, which will improve the current business licensing structure and related processes. This law is being implemented in order to give everyone a fair chance for establishing and growing your business. The Department of Commerce and Investment, which falls under my Ministry, is overseeing the implementation of the new law and its corresponding regulations.


DCI will also play a central role in the implementation of another piece of legislation, the Secondhand Dealers Law. The SDL, which was developed with input from licenced secondhand dealers, complements ongoing operations carried out by the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service. It is also intended to provide protection for those dealers, as well as the general public.

The new law requires secondhand dealers – for example, dealers in jewellery and precious metals, personal and household electronic devices including cell phones and computers, and other items such as boat engines and power tools – to implement certain procedures that will document that these items are not stolen goods.

These procedures include keeping proper books and records such as inventory forms, photographs, and picture IDs on who, what, when, where and how they obtained their items for sale.


As those legislative changes show, Government is modernising its licensing regime to foster more opportunities for local business. We want more Caymanians to get into business while ensuring healthy competition. To that end, work has commenced to revamp the current Liquor Licensing and Tobacco laws.

A committee was put together to review the Liquor Licensing Law and based on their input, Government is in the process of drafting new legislation. Meanwhile, a review of the Tobacco Law is scheduled for the end of the calendar year.


In addition to these improvements, one of the most significant developments for small-business owners is the ongoing modernisation of Cayman's intellectual property legislation. In March we took an important first step in bringing our IP framework up to date, with the UK's extension of its 1988 Copyright Act to Cayman. This Act, which replaces the extremely outdated UK 1956 Copyright Act, is scheduled to commence by September 2015, after a public education campaign has been conducted and necessary arrangements made for local implementation.

What this means for entrepreneurs is that your creations – whether they are technological innovations such as computer applications, or artwork, or music recordings – can be developed with the peace of mind that comes with IP protection.

Also with IP modernisation, Government is working toward improving the ability of local trade mark holders to extend their rights internationally, through several international treaties and conventions. Furthermore, with patents, minor updates are currently planned to existing legislation. Our focus is on becoming part of several international treaties and conventions that will assist in securing protection for your work beyond these shores.

The scope of our IP framework is broad and far reaching, in order to serve the needs of Cayman's visionary entrepreneurs, like you. I invite all of you to get more information about the changes to our IP legislation by picking up a copy of the IP fact sheet at DCI's booth, as you make your visits to your fellow entrepreneurs' booths.

And by the way, as you walk around the hall today, please remember that in addition to the workshops and the opportunity to promote your business, this expo can help you to improve your business through networking. By discussing the common challenges you face as business owners, you have a chance to discover partnerships and gain insight which can, in turn, lead to profitable solutions.


Ladies and gentlemen, there is no doubt that Cayman prides itself on our business capabilities, and that Government recognises the important role that entrepreneurs play in the success of our economy. However, for us to grow stronger, we must partner and engage in best practices locally and by doing so, develop the best possible business environment. This will show the world we have the necessary framework for economic sustainability, innovation and growth.

Speaking of partnering, I must commend the many businesses that are supporting this expo, both as exhibitors and sponsors. In particular I thank our gold sponsor, Hurley's Entertainment Ltd., and our silver and bronze sponsors, namely the Information and Communications Technology Authority, Cayman Enterprise City, AI Equipment Rentals, Cayman National Bank, Royal Bank of Canada, Dart Enterprises, and the Chamber of Commerce.

I also thank DCI and Ministry of Commerce staff, with special mention of DCI staff. They have put countless hours into making this event happen, and I am proud of their commitment to the business community.

I mentioned earlier that legislative changes, primarily with trade and business, secondhand dealers, and intellectual property modernisation, are influenced by our recognition that commerce happens globally.

In order for Cayman to be prepared to give entrepreneurs a global platform for their endeavours, DCI now is taking on an even more important role in the licensing and regulation of business; in fact, they will be central to Government's efforts to remain current with global developments. In many ways, their efforts will ensure that Cayman's entrepreneurs will be able to compete in the broader marketplace beyond our shores. This is the direction of modern commerce, and I thank DCI staff for taking on this challenge, and for their continuing commitment to improving Cayman's business environment.

Finally, I again thank all of you for coming to today's expo. Without your support and your efforts, Cayman would be a much less vibrant, interesting and satisfying place in which to live, and work. On behalf of Government, I look forward to all of us working together, for a better commerce environment and for your success.

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